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ONE SIMPLE TIP TO TEACH KIDS TO LISTEN

It's something I hear time and time again: My kids won't listen to me. How do I teach my kids to listen?

This is not always an easy answer, but there are tons of awesome ways to teach your kids to listen better. Today's tip is one of my favorites!

A lot of times kids feel pushed around because everything is decided for them. Get up at this time and eat breakfast, go to school and do this lesson, go to a sports practice and play this way, and of course, go to bed because I said so.

Last week I was reading an article about teaching kids consequences, and one of the tips shared was to let your kids choose the consequence. I thought that was very creative and useful parenting advice. Then a friend suggested I let my child be the boss for a little bit each day.

Woah, right?

It sounded a little off, but we tried it anyway!

Teach kids to listen with this tip

I almost laughed at the idea. Yes. Today my son was going to tell me what to do, and I was going to listen.

We set the timer for 45 minutes. My son and I played and he got to be the boss and tell mom what to do and help her listen. 

For a while we colored. He told me I could only color with the green crayons  and I had to draw a circle, then a house, and a horsey.  Then I messed up apparently because he said, Mama, nooooo! Mama, horsey.  He crossed out my horsey and directed me to color another one.

Geesh!

Then he told me it was time to go to his room and play blocks but first we had to set up the tents.  Together we played in this tiny tent hut. I couldn't believe I got my body into the tent, but somehow I made it! We built a castle and I was told to make a big truck for the king to drive. 

With each instruction, I listened intently and followed along with everything he said. At the end of 45 minutes, the timer went off.

I asked him, Did mommy listen well to all your instructions? 

Yes. Mama, you listen. 

Why this works.
  1. Allowing kids a chance to be in charge helps them feel a sense of control during a season of life when they don't have a ton of control.
  2. It allows you to model good listening for them.
  3. This also helps kids see that life is full of give-and-take. That we are all here to help each other. Kids are more likely to listen when they feel a sense of belonging and participation in the family. That what they have to say matters.
  4. The novelty of role reversal and playing together builds connection, which results in better listening. When kids feel more connected to their parents, they are more likely to obey and listen well.
What being the boss doesn't mean.

Being the boss doesn't mean give me $100 and let's eat ice cream for breakfast. You have to frame the opportunity for your child to be the boss and help you listen.  For example, tell your child you get to be the boss while we play together in your room. Or you get to be the boss when we go to the park today. You can decide what time we eat lunch and what type of sandwich mom is going to eat.

It could be anything. You frame the opportunity to meet the needs of your family. Then your kids take the lead. If you have multiple kids who are old enough for this activity, then let them each have a day to be in charge for a certain amount of time.

Remember this.

You may learn more than you think by allowing your child to be the boss. I almost took a step back when my son told me my horsey wasn't good enough. Next time, I ™ll have to think about how I will respond.

Wonder where he learned that? In many ways this activity reveals how your child perceives you as a parent. It's an opportunity for all of us ”as parents ”to see how we talk to our kids when we want them to listen. It's eye-opening, amusing, and most importantly, humbling when you see yourself from the outside in.