I don’t know about you, but my children don’t listen to anything I say, I swear sometimes I sound like a parrot! Cue Elizabeth Pantley and her really interesting piece for us on how to get your children to listen.

It’s a common scene – frustrated parent calling out instructions to children from two rooms away. The kids are engaged in their play and don’t hear the instructions, or don’t understand that the words are being directed at them. Children of all ages respond much better to purposeful, face to face conversation.

You can engage your child’s attention much more effectively if you take a moment to go to him, get down to his eye level, and talk clearly to him face-to-face.

When you engage your child in eye-to-eye conversation you have your child’s full attention. There’s no chance that you’ll be ignored or that he doesn’t realise you’re talking to him. In addition, your child can read your non-verbal communication signs, such as facial expression and body language. This will add to his ability to truly understand what you are saying. And you will be able to read your child’s non-verbal language, as well, which will help you know if he truly understands what you are saying.

Children are not little adults, but they are little people. They love their parents and they really do want to understand them. Give them an opportunity to listen and to participate in a conversational exchange with you.

When you have a request, or have something to say, take the extra minute or two to get eye-to-eye with your child and talk to him – clearly and respectfully. Explain what you want and why you want it. Ask questions to confirm that your child understands you. This exchange of information doesn’t take very long, and the pleasant results are always well worth it.

Elizabeth Pantley, author of the No-Cry Solution book series for parents.