Babies,  Parenting,  Preschoolers,  Toddlers

How To Talk To Children So That They Will Listen

Do your children drive you nuts when it comes to listening and showing compliance?

Do you often wonder how to talk to them so that they will listen?

Well, almost all children drive their parents crazy at one time or the other when it comes to listening. A part of this problem is due to their nature as humans. By nature, children are amazed by the environment around them and their attention shifts very quickly from one point of interest to the other. Therefore they might ignore something because they are busy exploring the world.

The other part of the problem of not listening to parents is because of certain mistakes or errors of judgments by people around the child which teach the child to listen only selectively.

 A Few Examples When Your Children Won’t Listen to You

Let’s see what some of the scenarios are when children won’t pay attention to what is being said to them.

  • They are busy and you are talking to them without getting their attention.
  • Your way of talking is disrespectful.
  • You repeat the same thing again and again.
  • You do not follow through with the consequences.
  • The child is unable (too young or cognitively constraint) to comprehend what you are saying.
  • You do not pay full attention to your child when they are telling you something.

How to Talk to Children So That They Will Listen

Attentive listening is very important for your children and also for your sanity as a parent. When children do not listen to you, you might start yelling or threatening them which may have a lot of negative implications for both of you. There are a few things which you can do as a parent to teach your children effective listening skills.

  1. Be Respectful

Take some time and think, how do you talk to your children? Can you talk like that to a friend or any other adult? Many times parents are rude to a child but they think it’s OK just because they are talking to a child. If something is rude for an adult to listen to its rude for your child also.

Whenever you talk to your children make it a point of utmost importance that you will be respectful. Respect is the number one requirement to teach a child anything and everything. Tell your children that it’s disrespectful to not listen to somebody if they are talking to you.

Try to be polite, positive and loving while talking to your children. As they say “As you sow so shall you reap”, when you will respect your children they will respect you in return and attentive listening is nothing but a form of respect.

  1. Model the Desired Behavior

A child might not be listening to you but they are always watching you and observing you. They might not listen to your preachy lectures but if they see you acting upon your words they will definitely learn from you and even try to copy you.

So if you want them to listen to you, first of all, listen to them. When they approach you, put your phone down, turn off the TV and pay full attention. Every once a while also tell them verbally what you are doing so that they know what are they supposed to do while listening.

For example; You may say something like “Wait for a second, let me turn off the TV so that I can listen to you properly” Or “Let me close this app, hmm… there you go, now I can be fully attentive.”

If at a point you are unable to pay full attention, tell them that you are unable to be fully present right now and you will get back to them as soon as possible. Then when you are free, approach them and listen to them.

  1. Talk Only When You Have Your Child’s Attention

Whenever you want to talk to your child, start talking only if you have their attention. The four steps, of getting the full attention of a child, are:

  • Go near the child.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Make physical contact like touching on face or shoulder or hold their hands while talking.
  • Be respectful and loving with your words.

At times you won’t be able to check all four of the aforementioned boxes. You might not have the time or space to do all these things. For all those situations make sure that you are being respectful and loving with your words and you are making eye contact at least.

  1. Set Clear Consequences and Avoid Empty Threats

Set clear consequences for your children and always follow through with the consequence. It’s a very common habit of parents that they do not follow through the consequences and only give empty threats.

For example, your daughter is having excessive screen time. You have asked her to leave the device and do something else. You are at your wit’s end and you say something like, “ Leave that iPad otherwise I will throw it outside the window.” Will you follow through your threat? Probably no.

Your children are very smart and they know almost everything about you. They know when you mean business and when you don’t.

In other words, do what you are saying and if you cannot do it then do not say it either.

There is no point in repeating what you are saying to the child again and again. When you have set clear consequences for not listening and you follow through with the consequences if they do not listen, then after few instances your child will know that you mean business. Thereon they will definitely listen to you and also show compliance.

  1. Give Rewards For Good Listening

It’s part of the human psyche that if humans are rewarded for a behavior they repeat that same behavior to get the reward again. Children especially young child live for the attention and approval of their parents. If parents will appreciate or reward a certain behavior there is a great likelihood that the child will repeat that behavior to please the parents.

Whenever your child shows good listening appreciate it. Tell them again and again that you are very happy with their listening. Trust me they will listen more and more attentively to make you happy.


Attentive listening is important, respectful and it plays a major role in building relationships. By nature, a child listens attentively. The environment around a child and the behavior of the closest adults around the child teach him or her to listen attentively or selectively.

If a parent can model the desired behavior of attentive listening with respect, positivity, and attention then the likelihood of good listening and showing compliance increases in children.

Making eye contact and making a physical contact like touching the child on the shoulder or face or holding hands while talking helps a lot in getting the full attention of the child.

Setting clear consequences and following through with those consequences when required set good boundaries for the child.

Finally appreciating the desired behavior help a child to repeat that behavior again and again.

Hopefully, by now you would have an idea of how to talk to children so that they will listen. Would you like to add anything to the article? Give your feedback in the comment section

Related articles:

How to have planned conversations with kids

Follow me on social media:


  • Mazhar Satti

    Get fully involved with them and talk through your heart; they will listen.
    Really enjoying your posts Seemab; very beneficial and well articulated. Thanks a lot

  • Alexa

    I am an active listener with my grandkids. I give them my full attention when they talk, and talk with them as well. But my son and D-I-L yell and ignore them, and make generic threats and don’t carry through. I’m not sure what I can do other than let them know they have a safe place to fall. This article really helped! Thanks for sharing!!

    • seemabzakir

      Your grand kids are so lucky to have you. Keep loving them. Thanx for liking my article and putting the extra effort to comment, i really appreciate it. Thanx again and keep visiting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *