Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Can You Really Teach Your Child To Focus and Listen?

I recently read an article written by a Mom named Mary Beth Sammons about how to teach your child to listen and focus.
Being the Mom to two children who have a tendency to look at me like I have two heads, act like a "spaz" or just simply ignore me as I speak to them, her words validated that what I was doing was correct.

WHEW! Thanks, Mary Beth!
For a while, I thought I was talking to the walls!
So the answer to the question is a resounding YES!
YES, you can teach your child to focus and listen.
But it is not something that comes overnight and it takes a lot of work...on your part as well as your child's.
So I would like to share her article and examples with you as well:

1. Get Down to Your Child's Level and Make Eye Contact
Speaking to your child when you can look him right in the eye is the best way to get a toddler's attention.
Get down on his level.
If you are not already doing so, get down to his level and make him look at you when you are talking to him.
It helps to take away distractions.
Otherwise just keep doing what you are doing and follow through with the discipline if he is not obeying or listening.

2. Be Firm, Be Clear, Be Consistent
Don't harp on it, just tell him simply and clearly that you expect him to listen when someone else is talking — at home or at school.
The best thing is consistency.
Make sure you, your husband and the daycare/preschool teachers are all on the same page with how you handle his behavior and what he gets time outs for.
If there are any differences it will confuse him.
Also make sure to point out the positive behavior as much as possible.
This is just as important as consistency.

3. Follow Through Quickly
Make it clear to your 3-year-old that you mean what you say by following up immediately with a timeout if he continues to talk or shout over you or someone else he is supposed to be listening to.
Being swift to correct a child will pay off quickly.

4. Keep Reinforcing Your Message
Repetition matters.
Repetition matters.
Repetition matters.

5. Model Good Manners and Listening Skills
You can't just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk when it comes to modeling good manners and listening skills for preschoolers.
Modeling manners will go a long way.

6. Remember, It Gets Better
Hang in there even if your child comes home with reports from the teacher that he is jumping all over the place when she is trying to get the class to sit on the mat and listen.

So if you are doing all of this at home...hang in will get better.

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1 comment:

  1. Love this, especially #5. So true! Thanks for sharing.