How to Get Toddlers To Listen

How To Get Toddlers To Listen in 10 Empowering Ways

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Do you ever feel like you’re talking to a wall when you’re asking your toddler to do something? Learn how to get toddlers to listen with 10 easy steps.

It can be so frustrating as a parent to repeat yourself over and over again to get no response at all.

If your 2-year-old isn’t listening, try these tips to get your toddler to listen without yelling.

It’s time to change your technique and try a new approach.

Simple Techniques To Get Your Toddler To Listen the First Time

How To Get Toddlers to Listen

Get Down On Their Level

The first step to get toddlers to listen is to ensure you have their attention.

Toddlers are constantly exploring the world around them and have a short attention span.

If you want to ask your toddler to do something, get down on their level.

This will help end distractions and they will know that you’re speaking to them.

Make Eye Contact

Eye contact is a huge factor of effective listening for any age.

When you’re looking at someone eye to eye, you know you have their undivided attention.

This way your toddler knows you’re talking to them and they will really pay attention.

Give Choices

My toddler is currently going through a phase where she wants to wear pajamas all day every day.

Instead of telling her “no, you must get dressed”. we offer choices.

We let her choose which shirt and pants she wants to wear. You can also ask do you want to put your shirt on or your pants on first.

Provide choices that will still get the task accomplished, but will help your toddler feel empowered along the way.

Keep Instructions Short

Most two-year-olds can only follow 2 step commands. Try to keep instructions short and to the point.

Avoid lengthy requests such as “can you please go upstairs, take your pajamas off, and put on your shirt?”

There are 3 requests in that command and chances are at least 1 or 2 will get lost.

Instead, stick to one instruction at a time. “It’s time to put your shirt on”.

There’s no ambiguity there and the instruction is very short and to the point.

Stick To a Routine

Toddlers thrive on routines and knowing what to expect next. Try to stick to a similar routine each day so your toddler can anticipate what’s to come.

For example, get dressed and brush teeth every morning before play time. This way you won’t have a daily struggle of stopping play to brush teeth.

Remind your toddler that after they get dressed and brush their teeth, then it’s time to play.

Provide Advanced Notice

One challenge a lot of toddlers have is switching tasks especially when they’re having fun.

To avoid this struggle, try to provide advanced notice.

Let your toddler know they have 5 more minutes before you move onto the next activity.

Even though they don’t have a great concept of time, they’ll still be able to prepare to switch gears and to finish what they’re doing.

Offer Praise When They Complete The Task

Let your toddler know that you’re proud and happy that they were good listeners. Tell them “thank you for listening to me” or “thank you for helping”.

This will boost their confidence and make them want to make you pleased again in the future.

Toddlers do love to help (when they’re in the mood) and respond really well to having their own age-appropriate chores to do.

Related: Toddler Chores

Sing Tasks

I hate to admit this, but Daniel Tiger has been one of the biggest help in our house to keep our toddler focused and on good behavior.

Daniel Tiger has a song for EVERYTHING and our toddler LOVES it!

We don’t watch TV very often, but we do listen to Daniel Tiger on Alexa daily.

Some of our favorite songs for cleaning up from Daniel Tiger are “Friends Help Each Other, Yes they do, it’s true”.

If you’re not a Daniel fan, find a different song that works well.

Whatever song you choose, singing makes helping each other more fun and exciting.

Stick To Your Requests

One of the most important things to do when getting your toddler to listen is to stick to your requests.

If you ask your toddler to clean up and then you end up doing it yourself, you’re showing her that she doesn’t really have to.

Instead, try to stick to your ground and clean up together before moving on to the next activity.

Set Realistic Goals

Toddlers love to help, but they are still only 2 after all. Don’t expect them to be on perfect behavior all the time.

Toddler tantrums will happen, but as parents, we can try our best to support our kids along the way.

However, you can choose age-appropriate chores that they can complete.

This list should help your toddler listen a lot more. Remember, stay positive and keep encouraging your toddler to be your “helper” and “great listener”.

Related Toddler Posts:

How To Get Toddlers to Listen
How To Teach Toddlers to Listen
Positive Toddler Discipline Tips
Latest posts by Jordan F, MSN, FNP-BC (see all)

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