Does your toddler listen well? Yeah, mine doesn’t either. It’s okay though. It’s totally normal to struggle with how to make kids listen. During the developmental period of 18 months to 3 years of age, toddlers are in a period of growth where they are learning to become good listeners, but they aren’t really following through in the way most parents desire.
As a parent, you are at a huge advantage right now. You have the ability to set the foundation for awesome listening skills. This age is all about using fun and creative ways to help toddlers learn to become better listeners. The ultimate hope is that your toddler will know all about listening by the time he or she reaches the pre-school stage.
Some days it is easy; other days, not so much. But I have found teaching a toddler to do just about anything takes a lot of patience, repetition, and willingness to try lots of different things to accomplish your listening goals.
In the spirit of toddler listening, I compiled a list of toddler listening hacks from other parents to help. These tips combined with using a printable daily schedule for kids can change life with a toddler!
Toddler listening hacks.
1. Toddlers are notorious from running in the exact opposite direction from their parents. Stop your toddler from running away by teaching your toddler to hold hands in safe places like on the sidewalk or indoors at the mall.
2. Help your toddler learn to pick up the toys with this creative song you probably haven’t heard before. It’s called ‘Put the Toys in the Bucket.’ But you can use the song to get your toddler to follow just about any direction of your choosing.
3. Getting your toddler to listen all the way from across the room is tricky. Try this tip called “a little less talk and little more action” in this cool video, where Steph from Ask a Nanny explains how to use the tip.
4. Games are another really cool way to get toddlers to listen better. Use Simon Says, I Spy or Follow the Leader to help your toddler learn to follow directions.
5. Using one of these timer hacks can motivate your toddler to listen better. We love to make a game out of something to see who can do XYZ the fastest. Plus, there are countless other ways you can use the timer to your parenting advantage (and psst…it’s not for time-out).
6. Another way to practice listening skills, when it’s not imperative that your toddler listens, is to play The Sound Box Musical Listening Game. This game is perfect to help toddlers learn to listen carefully.
7. Choosing our words wisely can make an incredible impact on how toddlers respond. Funny enough, when we started using phrases without using the word “no,” we started to notice a lot more cooperation around the house. For example, instead of saying “No, get off the table,” we started saying, “Can you sit nicely in your chair?”
8. Looking for more activities to help build toddler listening skills over time? This list of 15 games to improve toddler listening skills is perfect.
9. Offering positive reinforcement to your toddler without using the words “good job” is really helpful. These 9 phrases are a real game-changer for toddler listening. My personal favorites? You are very helpful! And you did it all by yourself!
10. Sometimes as parents we may create cranky toddlers without knowing it (I’m raising my hand!) and the impact on listening is huge. I love these gentle reminders for how to minimize crankiness in toddlers to help improve listening.
11. One thing I’m working on right now is becoming a better listener as a mom. Because let’s face it, toddler listening starts with us–the parents. These are the tips I started following to improve my own listening as a parent.
12. Ever heard of the phrase “How to talk so your kids will listen?” I love the “WAA WAA” tip this mom shares to help you talk to your toddler and get the listening results you really want.
Toddler listening is all about trial and error.
The truth is there isn’t a single fool proof method to help your toddler listen. It’s all about trying different things every single day. What works amazing one day might not work so hot the next. Totally normal. Keep on trying mama. I’ll be right there along for the ride with you!
Print this free toddler listening checklist.
This post comes with a free printable checklist to help with toddler listening. I always have the hardest time remembering these phrases. This printable simplifies it!
Here is a sneak preview…
Download Your Free Printable
- Download the checklist. You’ll get the printable, plus join 20,000+ parents who receive my weekly parenting tips and ideas!
- Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.
- Place it on your refrigerator. Check things off as you go and don’t forget a thing!
Want more on toddlers?
- How to Help Toddlers Cope with Big Emotions
- The New Approach to the Epic Toddler Meltdown
- 4 Awesome Strategies for Parenting Toddler Boys
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