April 1, 2019
Dear Families and Friends of Trinity,
Listening is a skill that comes with much practice and most of us at one time or another have said, “Why does my child not listen?” Children are hard-wired from a very early age to have some power and have control of a given situation. If we do not give children listening and reflecting opportunities, they will become impulsive and not make healthy choices. Below are some behaviors to get their attention and confirm that they are listening or better yet, that you are heard.
Get on their level: Eye contact with your child is vital. Put down the laundry, stop what you are doing, and look directly at your child. Ask them to look at you and stop what they are doing.
Shorten your speech: This is the Charlie Brown syndrome of WAH, WAH, WAH. Young children have difficulty comprehending long drawn out sentences especially when two and three directions are given at one time. Be concise and to the point.
Ask them to repeat what you just said to ensure they understand. Once you have made eye contact, shortened your speech, and clearly explained your expectations, calmly ask what your child just heard. By ensuring everyone is on the same page, you will see an instant improvement in communication and cooperation.
Stay in the positive, not the negative: When your child asks to go to the park at a time when you are not able to take them, instead of saying “no” say, “The park sounds great! Would you like to go on Saturday or Sunday?” Instead of saying “you left your socks in the middle of the room” you could preemptively say, “Thank you for grabbing those socks and putting them in your hamper.”
Make observations that give them ownership: When you know your child has not finished their homework and it is getting late, you could say, “I see your homework is not finished and I know how much you want me to read to you before bedtime, what is your plan?” Or if their room is a mess; your verbal observation of “what is your plan with your bedroom” is sometimes enough information for them to get the job done. Many times, it is nothing more than a power struggle and a way of getting your attention, as opposed to being defiant. I have often heard from parents, “My kid just isn’t listening.” My first response is, “They likely hear you loud and clear. Let’s make some adjustments and see if they are seeking your attention.”
With warm regards,
Mark Ravelli / Head of School
Trinity Episcopal School
720 Tremont Street Galveston, TX 77550