By Elizabeth PantleyAuthor of The No-Cry Discipline Solution

Does this sound familiar? You call your child. But nothing happens. You call again – still no response. After the third for fourth request, you finally go and get him? If that’s common in your house, here’s something to consider. Perhaps your child has learned exactly what you’ve taught him? That the first three (or five!) calls are just warm ups, and that you don’t really need him to do anything until you come and get him. But this routine can change! Here are some ways to make that happen.

Call. Pause. Act.

Follow this sequence: Call once. Wait two or three minutes. Go to your child, take him by the hand, and say, “When I call you, I would like you to come.” Then lead him by hand to the desired location. If you do this every time, he will know that you really do expect him to come when you call.

What happens between adults in the house?

Does the caller yell from two rooms away? Does the ‘callee’ mumble, “in a minute” and then have to be reminded several times before responding? Oops! These may be the model for your child’s behavior, so a household adjustment might be in order.

Allow time for transition.

Making a transition from one activity to another can be difficult for children. Instead of calling, “Come now!” try giving two warnings first, “You’ll need to come in five minutes.” A few minutes later, “Two minutes.”  Then you can say,”Please come in now.” At this point, if he doesn’t respond, go to him and take him by the hand.

Acknowledge your child’s desires.

Let him know that you understand he wants to continue playing, and then follow with a statement and an action that promotes compliance, “I bet you wish you could stay in the pool forever, but it’s time to go now. Here’s your towel.”

Use a bell or timer to call your child.

Tell him that when he hears the bell, it’s time to come to the kitchen. This is a fun and specific indicator. If you have more than one child you can allow the first one to arrive to ring the bell a second time.

Check his hearing.

Make sure that your child has had a hearing test and that his failure to respond isn’t because of a hearing problem,

What not to do

Don’t call to your child from a distance.

The farther you are from your child the more likely he’ll ignore your calls.

Don’t call your child until you’re really ready for him to come.

If you summon your child, but then get involved in something else you are reinforcing that your call is only a forewarning that you’ll need him some time soon.

These ideas are from Elizabeth Pantley’s The No-Cry Discipline Solution