“Are You Listening?”

November 1st, 2011

by Katrina Brooke

Make sure you have an audience before you start speaking.  Children, and many adults, can concentrate on only one thing at a time so call the persons name.  Allow time for the other person to make eye contact.  Make sure you are at eye level.  This saves time, frustration and repetition for all parties.

As adults we often share to much information (lecture) and make to many requests at one time.  Keep your requests simple.  Start with one request and then build up to a series of three simple requests.

Three year old Sarah would be confused if you said to her, “Go to your  room and hang up your clothes, but first pick up your toys and put out the dog.”  Both Sarah and the dog might disappear outdoors because  “put out the dog” is all Sarah remembers.

Separate your requests. Ask Sarah to pick up her toys.  When that task is completed, ask her to put the dog outside.  When the dog is out and Sarah is still in, ask her to hang up her clothes in her room.  – Winning Ways to Talk With Young Children

As a parent of 7 and 11 year old boys I can now ask for three things.  To help them remember what they need to do a restate it in one word or action form.  I will repeat it twice so they have it in their head such as when leaving the house in the morning I need them to get their shoes, coat and back pack on so I chant the same thing every morning to help with the routine.. shoes, coat, backpack.  I give them the allotted time and then announce it is time to go.

Always make EYE CONTACT AT EYE LEVEL. – Katrina Brooke, Director at The Shyne School


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