Teaching Your Child to Listen

Discipline is an attitude not a technique, it is about how you do things not the consequences of what you do when your child does wrong. It is commanding, not demanding. Children do well at home and in school when they have self control and are able to listen and follow directions.

Communication is the primary way to get a child to behave.

  1. Key phrases to use: “It’s time to ….”, “stop”, “NO!”  Avoid begging, whining, threatening, sounding exasperated.
  2. State expectations: “When we are in the store, I expect you to stay with me”; “Today is a school day” “Eat with your mouth closed.”
  3. One instruction at a time for 2 to 4 year olds: “Come to the table”  Age 5: 2 instructions “Wash your hands and come to the table”
  4. Let children know what to do, not what not to do.  “Use your walking feet.”  “We sit at the table to eat.”
  5. Keep the noise level down in your home.  Turn off the tv.
  6. Praise with words that are specific.  Avoid rewards for things that should be part of everyday life.  “You got dressed all by yourself”
  7. Touch the child, look the child in the eye, get down on the child’s level.  Use a kind controlled voice and body language.
  8. Make sure the child gets enough sleep, proper food, and medical attention when needed.
  9. Give alerts: “5 minutes till bedtime”
  10. Guide with kindness. When children feel secure, they behave.

How do we know when not listening and following directions is a problem?

  • Children have a history of ear fluid or hearing loss
  • Children also have speech immaturities
  • Children have a sleeping problem
  • Children also have difficulty processing information that is visual
  • Continues for a long time and occurs frequently
  • Happens across settings, home, school, friends
  • Atypical for age of child
  • Gets in the way of learning new skills

Where can parents get help?

  • Autism Society of Ct.: www.asconn.org
  • Birth to Three: www.birth23.org
  • Clinton Public Schools preschool screening, 664-6505
  • www.chdi.org (will find information on Help Me Grow)
  • Kidsteps, Madison, 203-318-3692
  • Lawrence and Memorial Hospital screenings, 1-860-446-8265, ext. 7059
  • Early Childhood Consultation Partnership, 203-235-2815
  • Pediatrician (will review health history and do referrals)

Information compiled by Linda N. Stuhlman for parent and professional workshops

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