Reasons Children Do Not Comply
- Research shows that the average child listens to 60-80% of parent commands
- Child may not have heard request
- May not anticipated transition
- Child may be engaged in doing something else and want to continue doing it
Defiance vs. Distraction
- With defiance they look like they heard you and made eye contact, but said no
- Could just be distracted and did not completely hear request
- Sometimes two many commands are given at once and it is overwhelming to the child
How do we increase chances children will listen
- Give commands in an effective way
- Make sure you make eye contact when giving commands
- Keep command short with a word or short phase
- Commands can be confusing ex. Giving a command in a question form. "Why don't you put on your shoes." Better- It is time for us to put on our shoes.
- Sometimes we mistakenly include selves in command. A parent may say, "We are going to clean up our toys," when they really mean that the child should clean up the toys.
- Should be clear and concise with eye contact
- Structured routines also help increase compliance
- Children like routines and knowing what is coming next.
- You do want to set limits and be direct with what you are requesting "It is time to put your shoes on."
- Notice when children comply and acknowledge that compliance
- Be specific and descriptive when you praise. "I like how you came up quickly to brush your teeth" rather than "Good boy!"
Other Ways to Increase Compliance
- Be specific what the consequences will be for not complying
- It is important to follow through on the consequences you give
- Can plan potential consequences ahead of time
- Consequences should be age appropriate and should be related to what is happening and natural
- Modeling emotions is very helpful. Ex. I feel frustrated, I am disappointed
- Give them the vocabulary for how they are feeling
- Social emotional development is one of the best predictors of academic success for children
- Can identify emotions in books you are reading together
- All emotions are natural and should not be labeled good or bad
- It is okay to feel angry or frustrated, but should teach children how we handle those emotions in an appropriate way
- Also should try to figure out the real reasons behind the emotion
- Children want to feel that we hear them and want the emotions acknowledged
- Validating a feeling does not mean you have to agree with it
Using Choice to Increase Compliance
- Giving children choice allows them to have control over situation
- Ex. Would you rather walk to the bathroom like a bear or rabbit?
- Choice also helps children with decision making and promotes independences
- Alerting children and giving warning time before a transition can help kids move better from one activity to the next
- Also a good time to engage children in what they are doing and can bring the activity to a natural conclusion
Show and Tell
- Enjoy your children and have fun with them
- We often get frustrated when we are rushing around
- Children will be better listeners if they see you as someone who will provide fun and joy to their lives
- Spend time playing with children each day