Friday, August 10, 2012

Parenting Tips: Teaching Your Kids To Listen

By: Tiffany Rudd
A few weeks ago I was feeling extremely frustrated with Cameron and Brooklyn's reaction to my requests. It went something like this almost every time I asked them to do something...

Me: Cameron and Brooklyn, I just heard the timer beep so Wii time is over. Turn it off please.
. . .
Me: Cameron and Brooklyn, listen please, it's time to turn it off.
. . .
Me: Cameron and Brooklyn, turn the Wii off right now.
. . .
Me: Turn it off NOW!!!

Honestly, it reached a point where it seemed like they didn't even register the sound of my voice until I was practically yelling! Please tell me I'm not the only mother who has felt this way.

One particularly frustrating morning I had a seriously depressing though. As I raised my voice again to get them to listen I thought, "I've trained my kids to only listen when I'm loud. This is my fault." 

Maybe that was a little harsh, but in a way I think it is true. Our children live up to the expectations we have of them. I was repeating my requests 4 times, I was raising my voice, I was allowing their behavior. 

So, that afternoon on my grocery run I picked up a bag skittles and the next morning we started "Listening Training!" I told the kids that for a few days they were going to be rewarded for listening the first time. I know, bribery and sugar, maybe not the best parenting tools, but desperate times call for desperate measures. :) 

For the next 3 days I made sure to use a quiet and calm voice for all my requests. I put two plastic cups on the counter with their names written on the side and a jar full of skittles next to them.

If they listened and followed instructions the first time I asked, I put two skittles in their cup.

If they listened the second time, I put one skittle in. 

If they listened the third time, no skittles.

If I had to ask a fourth time, I got to take one skittle out of their cup and eat it. 

Not long into the first day they were listening better, our house was quieter and I was much happier. Each evening after dinner they ate the skittles out of their cups and we talked about the improvements in their listening skills.

We only used the skittles for our 3 day training, but so far the results seem to be lasting. Those 3 days helped mix things up and hopefully break a bad habit I had allowed them to form. They still don't always listen the first time, but things have gotten much better. Every once in a while some good sugar and bribery are mom's best friends. :)

Pin It


  1. Funny, I was just talking to my sister in law about how every morning I'm determined to use my "nice" voice and I end up screaming at my kids at least once if not several times by lunchtime. I love this idea and will probably be instituting it soon. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks! I hope your kids respond to it as well as mine did! :)

  2. This is a great post, as a rule i tend to shy away from things that feel like reward charts, but your solution was clever because it was time limited and used specifically to bring about a shake up in behaviour. I really like that way of using this method. And I especially like that mummy gets rewarded with skittles for the stress of having to ask 4 times!
    I'm pinning this to the Sunday Parenting Party Pinterest board


Blogging tips