I recently took my son to his annual well-child visit with our family doctor. Part of the exam was to test his hearing, so the nurse placed headphones over my son’s ears and asked him to raise his hand when he heard the beeps. After the exam the nurse looked at me and smiled.
“His hearing’s just fine, Mom,” she told me. “If he claims he didn’t hear you then he can only blame his selective listening.”
All jokes aside, getting kids to listen is a common struggle for parents. I polled readers about their top toddler parenting struggles and the first response I got was this, from a mom named Danielle: “Listening. Just plain old listening.” When I read it I chuckled to myself, because Danielle? I hear you (no pun intended).
The toddler years are especially difficult ones when it comes to following directions. They’re easily distracted and lack the verbal and comprehension skills of older children. They’re also notoriously opinionated and love to test their boundaries.
Here are 6 tips that I’ve found helpful for increasing toddler listening skills. Whether you’re new to this adventure or a seasoned toddler parent like I am, these tips can serve as good reminders.
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Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.