Parenting Tips

How to Get Your Kids to Listen Without Yelling Your Lungs Out7 min read

How often do you have to repeat yourself before your child listens to you? Do you find yourself having to yell to get your kid to pay attention to what you’re saying?


If that’s your current situation at home, I want to send you a virtual hug because I know how annoying it is to repeat yourself 10 times before your child takes action.


The good thing is that I want to help you train your child to listen to you the first time you ask them to do something. I know it sounds like a pipe dream because by now, you’re used to yelling your lungs out, but it doesn’t have to be that way.


If you’d love to have your child listen to you without having to bribe, threaten or lash out at them, read on to find out the incredible 6 tips that might help.

Make eye contact

Have you ever tried talking to your child while they’re playing or watching TV? How did it go? Not good, I suppose. Trying to have a conversation with your child while they’re distracted or engaged in a fun activity is useless.


You might give them an entire speech, and they’ll not register a single word of what you’ve said. Just like how your husband would ignore you when he’s playing FIFA or watching a game on TV, the same applies to your child.


Before you start giving your child orders or requesting them to do something, make sure they’re looking at you. Eye contact is essential.

You’ll get nowhere by yelling out instructions to your child whose watching TV in the living room while you’re in the kitchen peeling potatoes.


This is what you should do. Walk up to them, pause the TV, then ask your question or give your instructions.


NB: Ask your child to repeat what you’ve said so that you know they’ve understood.


Let’s move on to the next step. 

Shorten your sentences

Kids ignore long sentences.


And I bet it’s not kids alone. Most parents are guilty of giving their kids long-ass speeches when asking them to do something. Which usually ends with the child only paying attention to 3 words and ignoring the rest.


Let’s assume you what your child to put on their sweater so that you can head outside.


Instead of saying”, I want us to go to the mall to buy a few groceries, put on your sweater before we’re late.”

Try this, “Put on your sweater.”


Keep your pointer or your action word at the start of your sentence. 


Let me give you another great example.


If it’s time for lunch, try “Lunchtime. Time to eat.” Instead of “I made you Rice and Beans, come and eat before it gets cold.”


Trust me; your child lost you at Rice. The rest of the sentence flew past them. 

Set up a timer

Let’s say you want your child to have breakfast, but they’re taking ages to come to the table because they’re busy watching TV.



Based on what we’ve covered so far, you’ll go to the living room, pause their show and ask them to prepare for breakfast in 10 mins.


Ten mins later, they’re still a no-show. So you give them another 10 mins, and then an extra 5 mins. And the cycle continues.


By the time you notice it, they’re 30 mins late for breakfast, and you’ve probably yelled, threatened, or attempted to bribe them at this point to get them to switch off the damn Television and have breakfast.


I want to help you out.


Stop extending time. If you want your kid to put the TV off after 10 mins, then stick to your guns. Does that mean it’s going to go smoothly?


No! I won’t lie to you, but your child will probably put up a resistance. But you have to be persistent if you want to see changes. 


If getting your child to sit down for breakfast is a struggle, try the following steps.

  • The first time you ask your child to prepare for breakfast, set a timer or, better yet, have them set a timer (if they’re old enough to). 10 mins for TV then breakfast”.
  • Set the timer and leave them to indulge in their show.
  • After 10 mins, come back and ask them to switch off the Television.
  • Suppose they start whining, crying, or threatening to start World War 3. Don’t add another 5 mins. Please don’t.

I know by now you’re probably thinking, “I just want the whining and crying to stop.”


But once you give in, you’re teaching them not to listen to you, which beats the whole point of this post.


Surprisingly enough, your child might not cry but start a power struggle with you. Tough one, huh! 


So, what do you do at this point?


Keep reading to find out.

Give your child minimum options (2 actually!)

“I don’t want to.”

“Just one more show, Mummy”

Do you get such replies or a variation of the same anytime you ask your child to put the TV off? You’re in luck because I have a solution for you. 


The last thing you want is to have a power struggle with your child. And it can get quite messy if you have a strong-willed kid who wants to follow their schedule and not yours.


So, to avoid all that nastiness and needless back and forth, give your child the opportunity to decide what happens next.


In this case, give them two options:

“Do you want to switch off the TV, or should Mummy help you?”


Something important to note here is that you want to give your child two options which you know you’d be comfortable with either choice.


In this case, if they decide to turn off the TV themselves, you’re okay because that means they get to eat breakfast. If you put off their show, they still get to have breakfast.


Let’s consider another great example. If your toddler takes ages to decide which shoes to wear, give them two pairs to choose from. Not three or four, just two options.


When presented with many options, kids get overwhelmed, and I bet it’s not kids alone. Keeping it a minimum of two options makes it easier and way manageable for them (and you also).


Avoid Punishment-based statements

When you’re about to burst a blood vessel from yelling continuously, it’s easy to resort to punishment as a way to make your child listen. But that only results in short-term compliance because of fear.


And fear-based parenting is not what we’re striving for here. Nope! So, refrain from saying any of these statements below if you can (with practice, of course).


Consistency and patience is key

If your child has been used to you yelling to get them to do something, there will be some pushback when you switch things up. Remember, children have a choice to make just like adults. They can decide to think and do what you ask of them or resist. 


Most of the time, they will fight back when you try to make adjustments to their “normal” environment or behavior. So, before you try out what I’ve explained here and quit, why not go ahead and try it one more time?


Remember, your child doesn’t listen to you the first time you speak because you’ve trained them to pay attention when you’re aggressive or yell. You have to retrain them to listen to you when you speak in a calm voice the first time.


They have to understand that Mummy doesn’t have to shout for me to brush my teeth, eat my breakfast or pick up the toys. Practice makes perfect. Stay consistent, and I’m positive you’ll start seeing results.


There you have it—6 helpful tips to make your child listen to you. Of course, each kid will respond differently to these techniques, so you must try and tweak a few pointers here and there until you find what works for your family.


If you love this post, why not go ahead and share it with a friend who needs help getting her child to listen without losing her voice (or his!).


How do you get your toddler or teen to listen to you?

I’d love to know – leave me a comment below!


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