I Can’t Hear You!

I find myself repeating the same requests over and over to my son. Sometimes it feels like I’m talking to a wall. What can I do to improve the listening around here?

It can be frustrating when it seems like your child hasn't heard anything you've said. Yet you know his ears work because all you have to do is call out "Who wants ice cream?" and all eyes are on you! Here are a couple of suggestions, as well as a few of the reasons behind selective listening.

Only ask once: This can be the toughest thing for mama to master because you find yourself absent-mindedly repeating the same question, and only when you're 20 minutes late for work do you realize you've turned into a broken record of "Put your shoes on!" Commit 1 or 2 of your less hectic days to catching yourself on the first request and enforcing the follow-through.

Return the favour: Do your kids have to repeat themselves when they ask you for something? I know in my house sometimes it's after the fifth "Mommy may I have a drink?" that I realize I've been zoned out cooking dinner/on a phone call/changing the baby and I haven't even answered him. Hard as it can be in busy (and sometimes noisy!) households, try and model the same attentive listening that you are expecting of him.

Nanny Carrie’s Tip: Your child’s personality may affect how well they listen.

-Active/inattentive kids may thrive on multitasking, so the ol’ “Please look at me when I’m talking to you” might not work. Sometimes busy brains can handle lots of external stimulus so he may pay attention better if he can be doing something else at the same time.
-Shy/anxious kids on the other hand, may need a little focus. If your child is easily overwhelmed, then keeping eyes on Mom might help to shut out some of the stressors that can steal his focus.

Do you have challenges with having to repeat yourself? Is one age group more challenging than another? How do you manage selective listening in your house?

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Author: Nanny Carrie

Nanny Carrie always knew she wanted a big family, so she made it her business to borrow everybody else's children until she had her own. You can find her embracing the organized chaos of life with five kids and loving (almost) every minute!

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