Before we adopted my son, I didn’t have a whole lot of kiddo-experience. But that didn’t really matter because the state requires a significant amount of training for an adoption. And some of that training was actually really helpful. For example, these Simple Tricks for Talking to a Toddler So They Actually Listen are actually my interpretation of some tricks they taught in the classes for talking to children in the adoption process. Kinda think the training was so good, they might want to consider it for all expectant parents, too…heh.
Genuinely, all kidding aside, these simple tricks for talking to a toddler are very helpful in communicating with people who, otherwise, have some communication issues–like kids that have been removed from less-than-optimal-homes and toddlers. Because, honestly, communications challenges have all sorts of shapes, sizes and occur at any age. So, this all applies to my teen, too. Ad I do use it, despite a policy of talking to him sparingly. So, maybe you can use this in a wider way, too.
Simple Tricks for Talking to a Toddler So They Actually Listen
- Start with their name. This is a great tactic to do even before your kiddos are “toddlers”. But, don’t sweat, you can do this no matter a kid’s age (literally, this works with all age persons–not just kids, even). Just start your important thoughts that you want them to listen to by saying their name. Seriously. It’s that simple. Try saying it to yourself. See how much better you pay attention to–wait…
- Make eye contact. Oh, this is so hard. Little ones don’t know about making eye contact, so reciprocating, for them, is hard. But you have to try and get in their line of sight, if you can move that fast. If you can’t easily get them to see you (like they’re running away at top speed), you just keep looking at them while you’re talking and, if they glance your way, as they sometimes do, you’ll eventually find that they start looking to meet your eyes when you start speaking to them. Sweet!
- Touch. By engaging their sense of touch, you are pulling their attention to you. So, holding their hand, putting your hand on their shoulder or back–great ways to focus them on you. If you can engage the other senses, hearing will come, too. Just don’t try to engage them by like pinching or hitting–just because THEY do that sort of thing does not mean that you have to stoop to their level.
- Stoop to their level. NO! Not with the pinching! Give it up already…I’m not going to tell you to do that to your toddler. What I mean is: Get down on their level or pick them up and bring them to you. This is big in that it facilitates some of that eye contact, brings-in some touch and allows their focus to shift to the new thing–you.
- Wave a cookie in their face. No, wait, that’s a tactic reserved for speaking to husbands and teens. Or, sadly. me. Heh.
Leave me a note in the comments to let me know what you think about these Simple Tricks for Talking to a Toddler So They Actually Listen! I love hearing your feedback.