Sometimes, despite our best efforts, it’s hard to get our kids to listen to us. At times, although I try to remain calm, my voice gets louder and higher in pitch and then…well, you know how it goes!
Lately I’ve been learning that putting myself in my kids’ place helps me find a better way to encourage obedience when I want them to do something cheerfully and immediately. Young children are easily distracted (hey, us adults are sometimes too!) and so even though we think they hear us, they may really be enraptured with a book or a toy they’re playing with.
It may be hard for them to instantly focus on what we’re saying and sometimes they may not even hear us because they’re so busy!
So here’s what I do.
When I want to have my child’s full attention and gain their immediate cooperation, I need to take the time to do this:
Call them over to me, get down to their level and look them in the eye.
This method works just about every time! Being one-on-one helps my child to focus on exactly what I’m saying and then respond by saying, “Ok, Mom,” before going off to do whatever he or she is asked to do.
Obviously, I’m not going about this in a menacing way, giving them a stare-down and hissing between clenched teeth. It’s just a simple matter of having them right next to me and speaking clearly and pleasantly so they understand what’s being asked of them. Good for me, good for my little ones! And everybody can stay calm. (Now, if only I would remember to do this more often…!)
How do you encourage obedience and cooperation in your child?
This post was first published January 19, 2012, but I am still using this very effective method now that we have four children! ;) By the way, if you want some more guidance about parenting that is grace-based, we love this book from Dr. Tim Kimmel!
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