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Home » Advice and Tips, Featured, Obedience Issues, Toddler

Get Your Kids to Listen to You Using Keywords

Submitted by on Saturday, 25 October 20086 Comments

Getting your kids to listen to you is not always an easy task, especially if they are just learning to understand language in general.  You want them to understand you and listen to your instructions, but it doesn’t always get through their little heads.  This is either because they have a mind of their own that wants to do what it wants and test its limits, or because what you are saying may be too complex for them to comprehend.

Talking to your kids can be liking talking to a tree

Talking to your kids can be liking talking to a tree

I have found a solution that works nicely and is easy to apply to everyday situations.  The idea is to use keywords when requesting something from your kids.  Most bloggers or SEO specialists are familiar with the concept of using keywords on websites and blogs to get search engines to listen to them.  I am going to tell you how parents can use keywords in everyday conversation to get their kids to listen to them.

Picture this:  You are at the grocery store.  You just finished shopping and Junior is getting fussy.  He wants to leave the store now and is about to have a meltdown if you don’t.  What do you do?

Leaving the store without paying is not the answer.

In such a situation, a keyword can work wonders.  You can use a keyword such as “Pay,” to get the message across that you can’t leave yet because you still have to pay for the groceries.  For example, you can say, “I have to PAY now.”  Or, “You’ll have to wait a minute because I still have to PAY.”  Whatever you say, it is important that you emphasize the keyword, “PAY.”  Then, every time you are at the grocery store and Junior gets fussy at the cash register, simply say similar things, always including your keyword.  This introduces a consistent message that Junior will always understand.  So whenever you tell Junior that you have to PAY, he knows he has to settle down and wait.

I use a keyword with Smarty Pants whenever I want him to get out of the bath.  I introduced this because he never wanted to get out of the bath, no matter how many different ways I asked him.  The keyword is “WRAPPER.”  When I say wrapper, it refers to the way I wrap him up in his towel to dry him down when he gets out of the bathtub.  I say, “Okay, its time to get out, we’re going to do a WRAPPER.”  (Don’t worry if the grammar isn’t 100% correct or the keyword is partially made-up).  As soon as he hears the word WRAPPER, he knows exactly what I mean and what will happen, and it is his cue to get out of the tub.  It honestly works every time.  He gets out of the tub and repeats after me, “Wrapper, wrapper, wrapper,” as I wrap the towel around him.

Can you think of some keywords and how they can be used to send a signal or “call to action” to your child?  “CLEAN UP” is a good example of a keyword (or key phrase) that can be used to send a cue to your child that it is time to clean up.

Be creative.  I think the wrapper idea was pretty creative and I am really happy with the results.  If you find yourself asking your child a thousand different ways to do something, and she just isn’t listening, try using a single, consistent keyword instead.  Come up with something fun that she will always recognize.  The idea is to create a mental association between the keyword and the action.  It is almost like NLP.  Or maybe it is NLP.  Either way, it works!

If you try this out and it works for you, please leave a comment and let us know!  We can all benefit from your experiences!

****Flickr photo courtesy of Nutmeg66

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