by: Andy Guides Jr
Most toddlers can hear just fine, but you wouldn't know it from the way they act! It's tough to get their attention, but it's important that they understand when it's time to listen to mommy or daddy.
Sometimes it's absolutely critical that they listen, so here are some ideas to use to help them focus on you.
Find a catch phrase - Come up with a family 'catch phrase' that means 'listen to me now'. Keep it positive! Try 'time to listen!', 'eyes on mommy (or daddy)', or 'time to use your ears!' Or come up with a sound that signals that it's time to pay attention: 'bing!', 'knock-knock', 'yoo-hoo!' You will find your child using the phrase on you, so be ready to set a good example and listen to them when they do.
Eye contact - When you need your child to listen, make eye contact. Get on their level, hold their chin and use your catch phrase. Soon they will automatically look at you when you use your catch phrase.
Keep it positive - Parents say No a lot. It's their job. But it's not much fun to listen to, and even young ones get tired of it. Be sure to practice listening with some Yes statements, positive reinforcement, and praise. No one wants to listen to 'No' all day long.
Get rid of distractions - Turn the TV off, turn the stereo off, and step away from the toys. This works great in your own home, but is harder when you're out and about. Find a quiet spot and get your child to physically step away from distractions.
Shhhhhhhhhhhhh! - Yelling is not very nice, and not very effective. It ends up frustrating both the parent and the child. If you start out quiet and get quieter, a child's natural inquisitiveness will make them wonder what you've said. If you are quiet, they will respond more quietly. If you yell, they learn that is an appropriate way to get someone's attention.
Relax and focus - Take a break with your toddler and try this relaxing exercise. Raise your child's hands above their head, take a deep breath, then lower them and exhale. Repeat this two or three times. Holding their hands gets their attention, and the calming breaths will help them focus on you. (This is also a good way to relax an annoyed parent too!) Use your keyword or phrase and let them know what's on your mind.
Be patient - Be patient with both your child and yourself. All parents know this is the hardest thing to do, but the most important.
Parents of toddlers face frustrating listening challenges every day. But they can be a good opportunity to practice. Establish good listening habits early, and your child will listen when it is the most important.
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About the Author:
The mind of a toddler is like a sponge in those early years, soaking up an abundance of information and knowledge that once many years ago was not thought possible. They say that any toddler activity is good and therefore a toddler lesson plan must be beneficial.
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