How to get your toddler to listen to you

As a parent, there are few things in life that will test your patience like a toddler. At this age, little ones are discovering many ways to express themselves, push boundaries and block out every ounce of reasoning you try with them. This can be a testing time for mums and dads.


toddler listen


As with most aspects of parenting, it’s a case of trial and error when it comes to getting your toddler to listen to you. But here are some things you can try.

Get down on their level

If you want your toddler to listen to you, you need to attempt to get their undivided attention. This can be elusive. One way to help is making eye contact and you can’t do this if you’re towering above them. Kneel down, sit down, pick them up or do anything else you can to make eye contact and be able to hold their gaze. This way you can be sure they will truly hear you and (hopefully) understand you.

Don’t say ‘don’t’

Often, we find ourselves telling our toddlers what not to do. This can sometimes be confusing as they first need to determine what it is we want them to stop doing, then work out what we want them to do instead. Try removing ‘don’t’ from your vocabulary and instead concentrate on what you do want them to do. For example, instead of saying ‘Don’t leave your toys all over the floor’, say ‘Put your toys in your toy box’. 

Find reasons to say yes

Sometimes toddlers will ask for things at least one hundred times in a day, and our automatic reaction is often to say ‘no’. This doesn’t always get our toddlers to listen to us. Of course, there are many times when you are completely justified in your ‘no’ response, but after hearing it so many times, toddlers can just tune us out. Saying yes doesn’t mean agreeing to everything, but sometimes we automatically dismiss things without really thinking about whether the request is doable.