Patti Cancellier: Hi, I am Patti Cancellier, the Education Coordinator and a Parent Educator for the Parent Encouragement Program. I am talking about why children don't listen and now I'll discuss how you should speak to your children so they really hear you. The First step to making your words really matter is to ensure that you have your child's attention. You want to deliver the message in a way that child can't ignore. That way, at least you can be confident that your child heard you.
For the way to do this is to use what's called the interruption signal. Walk up to the child, get down to her level so that you are eye-to-eye with her. Put your hand gently on her wrist and wait. Eventually, she'll turn to look at you, and when she does, deliver your message. Young children look immediately, unless they are absolutely engrossed in a T.
V. program or a video game. Teenagers may take a moment or two to turn your way. But don't worry about that. Just wait. The advantage of using the interruption signal with your children is that you're training them to use it with you and it comes in handy when you're on the telephone and the child wants to speaks with you. You may feel that going to the child to tell him what has to be done, it takes too long. However, you'll actually save yourself time by making sure that the child hears what you have to say. It's a more respectful way to speak to someone, and it may help to put an end to people yelling for each other in your home. Getting to the child's level or up to your teen's level, using a stepping stool if necessary, so that you can speak to him eye-to-eye, also as an element of respect. You're not towering over him, trying to intimidate him into doing something. Instead you're speaking to him, one person to another. And another tip to ensuring that your words are heard and responded to, is to stand or sit the same distance from him that you would maintain in a normal conversation. Not too close, which is aggressive and not too far, which may indicate that it's not important. So that's how you make sure that your child actually hears what you have to say by getting her attention, speaking eye-to-eye and maintaining a normal distance from her. Next I'll discuss the importance of offering choices to your children.