I dreaded our mornings. The kids don’t listen in the morning. I told my husband. Not being able to count on the kids listening left an emotional scar on me every day. The children didn’t want to be rushed and the cooperation was nil.
How to Get Kids To Listen
‘Please brush your teeth,’ I would say.
I was met with, ‘I’m not going to school!’
‘I am not brushing my teeth.’
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When Your Kids Don’t Listen in the Morning
Sometimes it’s you, not them. I would say everything you are not supposed to say: ‘You will brush your teeth or else.’ ‘You are going to school — and now — and I don’t want to hear another word about it!’ I could hear my mother’s words and tone coming out of my mouth.
What was I doing?!
Finding a Better Way to Get Kids to Listen
After trying every threat and punishment I could think of, I finally started using the Hand in Hand approach. We started getting up 30 minutes early so we could play. I mean really PLAY! We just did 20 minutes right after breakfast… It worked! Twenty minutes in the morning has given me hours of peace and love.
–Listen by Patty Wipfler and Tosha Schore.
Play Changed My Kids
It’s funny how something like this can make such a big difference. How 20 minutes can change your day. No matter what, the thing that your children need the most is you.
If you start to see them not doing as they are told, or being deficient, or just acting out… think about how you can do something for them.
As the saying goes: A child seldom needs a good talking to as a good listening to.
If you find yourself losing your patience, give 20 minutes a try and see how it can change your day.
Questions to Ask When Your Child Isn’t Listening
If rough mornings seem to be an every day thing, ask yourself these questions:
- Are my expectations of my child fair?
- Did my child get enough sleep last night?
- Have there been any significant changes that are affecting my child’s emotional well-being right now?
- Could my child be having any sort of conflict at school or daycare they are not telling you about?
- Is my child going through a significant change right now (ie: growing pains, hormonal changes, etc).
By looking at these questions you may get a solid idea of why your mornings aren’t going so well. Most of the time when children are acting out there is an underlying reason.
It’s worth investigating before we allow ourselves to be upset with our children and treat them in a way you’ll later regret.
Tips to Get Your Child to Listen
Kids don’t listen in the morning? While every child is completely different, there are some common things you can look at before assuming your child listening to you is a lost cause.
1. Make sure that your child is actually hearing you.
Believe it or not sometimes your child really doesn’t hear you. Maybe they don’t hear you because they are focused on something else. They may not hear you because they are too far away. It could be that they have learned to tune you out because of past trauma. It is important to be sure they don’t hear you before you assume they aren’t listening.
2. Once you’ve established they are focused on listening to you, then repeat what you need them to do.
It’s imperative you are kind to them throughout this process. Be consistent in this area and watch your child begin to tune in to you when you need them to listen.
3. Let natural consequences take their course.
While most parents want to whip out the discipline right away; sometimes letting natural consequences take over is the best teacher for your kids. For instance, if they are not moving fast enough when getting dressed, let them know that they will have to leave the house at (such and such time) regardless. So if that means they only have on one sock, that means that they have to go to school with one sock. While this method may not work for all children, it’s worth a try. Just be sure not to pressure or humiliate them. That will only work against you (and hurt them).
Books About Listening for Kids
Need even more reinforcement? Here are some top rated books on Amazon to help drive home the importance of listening.
- Wordy Birdy: Picture Book about a very chatty bird who talks WAY more than she listens
- Tessie Tames Her Tongue: A Book About Learning When to Talk and When to Listen
- How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
Tips for Changing Your Morning Routine
Another thing to consider is changing up your morning routine. Sometimes there are things that used to work that no longer work for your family.
Often times the smallest tweaks will help turn your mornings around!
Here are some suggestions on how you might change up your mornings:
- Have your children choose their favorite outfit the night before. This can help curb the “I don’t want to wear that” attitude.
- Let your children pick out what they’d like to eat for breakfast once a week so long as their behavior is good. Perhaps on Friday they can eat what ever they want because they chose to have good mornings Monday-Thursday. Remember, good is not the same as perfect. We are raising little humans who need our guidance.
- Let them watch their favorite show once a week in the mornings so long as they comply.
- Choose a silly song to dance to every morning. Dancing is a great cure for restless, grumpy kiddos.
- Let your kiddos put on your makeup or help you do your hair.
- Just loosen up and have fun.
- Check out our tips for a less stressful morning routine.
Need even more inspiration? Come take a look at the perfect morning routine for moms!
More Listening Advice from Real Moms from Kids Activities Blog
- How to teach kids to listen with these 5 genius phrases
- Best listening activities for kids
- Listen to your kids is more important than you might think
- How to get your kids to listen 100% of the time
- Play this listening game for kids
Do you have any additional advice on what to do when your kids don’t listen in the morning?