Have you ever asked yourself…why won’t my child listen to me and do what I ask the first time? I bet you have. The answer is sometimes simple. We give in enough times that it reinforces their behaviour. We give in “just this one time”, so they will stop that whiny voice, go play somewhere else, quit bugging their sibling, etc. Except that we do it frequently. We are teaching them that if they persist, they will get what they want or get out of what they don’t want to do.
Where do we go from here? You are the one that needs to change. Start with simple things that you are likely to get a positive response. “Billy, pick out which snack you want in your lunch this week.” “Billy, pick a movie then grab your seat on the couch.” Then praise them for doing what you asked the first time. “Billy, you did what I asked you to do the first time I asked….way to go…and thank-you”. and smile while you say this.
You can set a timer challenge: Can you beat the clock on this chore? Have a competiton; I will do this chore at the same time and let’s see who finishes first! First one done gets (?). Use the When and Then tactic: When you finish this chore by (time limit), then we can (enjoyable activity).
You could also incorporate a point system by granting a point on a chart each time they do what is asked. Set a number of points they need to achieve to get their reward. Rewards can be various things – a sleepover with a friend, watching a movie, etc.
Discuss with your child the “feelings bubbles” that arise when there is harmony of listening and doing, versus the feelings that happen when there is non-compliance, stall tactics, whining, etc.
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