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6 Tips for Teaching Your Young Child to Listen and Focus

6 Tips for Teaching Your Young Child to Listen and Focus

One of the biggest challenges of preschool is learning to settle down and pay attention. As preschool teacher and Circle of Moms member Rebecca J. explains, "The most important set of skills a child can have coming into any kind of social care group are social/emotional skills. These include listening, sharing, being friendly, a general understanding of fairness and justice, empathy, responsibility to others, and the overall ability to be a good friend. Things such as scissor skills, zipping coats, etc. will come with time, practice, and experience. It has been my experience that a socially successful preschooler is a very happy preschooler. "

But many Circle of Moms members say it's not always an easy task to get an energy-filled preschooler to be still and listen. Anne P. laments that "Listening is not my two-year-old's best skill." She goes on to explain that he's "a ball of energy...Some days he's absolutely great and other days he spends half the day in timeout for not listening."

Luckily, there are many things you can do at home to improve your child's ability to focus. To help you introduce and practice these fundamental social skills with your little ball of energy, Circle of Moms members offer these six tips.



1. Get Down to Your Child's Level and Make Eye Contact

Speaking to your child when you can look him right in the eye is the best way to get a toddler's attention, Circle of Moms members suggest. Get down on his level, advises Sarah H. "If you are not already doing so, get down to his level and make him look at you when you are talking to him," she says. "It helps to take away distractions. Otherwise just keep doing what you are doing and follow through with the discipline if he is not obeying or listening.

2. Be Firm, Be Clear, Be Consistent

Don't harp on it, just tell him simply and clearly that you expect him to listen when someone else is talking at home or at school, suggest Circle of Moms members. "The best thing is consistency," says Jeneva W. "Make sure you, your husband and the daycare/preschool teachers are all on the same page with how you handle his behavior and what he gets time outs for. If there are any differences it will confuse him. Also make sure to point out the positive behavior as much as possible. This is just as important as consistency."

3. Follow Through Quickly

Make it clear to your 3-year-old that you mean what you say by following up immediately with a timeout if he continues to talk or shout over you or someone else he is supposed to be listening to, Circle of Moms members suggest. Being swift to correct  a child will pay off quickly. Says Sarah H. "I do day care and find that at two years, they spend a lot of time in time-out, but by the time they hit three they are having only a few time-outs, and most of the time a warning does just fine."

4. Keep Reinforcing Your Message

Repetition matters, suggest Circle of Moms members. "I have a 2.5 year old and they like to ignore people but I ask him once, ask him again, then count to three," says Diane G. "Most of the time I don't get to three." Pip L. agrees: "One of the things I do to make sure I'm listened to is to make them repeat the instruction I give, sometimes I might even make them say it a few times so we're all on the same page."


5. Model Good Manners and Listening Skills

You can't just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk when it comes to modeling good manners and listening skills for preschoolers. "Modeling manners will go a long way," says Arlene S. "You would be surprised how many preschoolers are not taught them."

6. Remember, It Gets Better

Hang in there even if your child comes home with reports from the teacher that he is jumping all over the place when she is trying to get the class to sit on the mat and listen, advise Circle of Moms members who have been there. "I've got five boys, and the youngest two are two-year-old twins," says Pip L. "All I can say is, it gets better with age"

How do you teach your little one to listen?

Image Source: SillySilers via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

mariabelensevilla mariabelensevilla 5 years
what age does these signs appear? can we do something to prevent or cure it?
haideebanares haideebanares 5 years
OfeliaAlvarez OfeliaAlvarez 5 years
CoMMember13611625027557 CoMMember13611625027557 6 years
I think Bonnie needs to keep going to school. I have 3 boys and only one of them has these symptoms and they started before he was 2. You can say whatever you want but until you experience it yourself you have no idea what your talking about. If my son had autism or some other more acceptable disability he would have so much more help. HE CANT HELP IT! It's not a discipline problem.
valeriehall valeriehall 6 years
All the signs of adhd sound like normal childhood seems so drastic to put a child on mind altering meds.before jumping on the ritalin bandwagon parents should really research the affects of the drug and/or alternative therapies and get second opinions. Research adhd and get educated before deciding if meds are the answer for your child.
angelaoliviadiaghassi angelaoliviadiaghassi 6 years
Get your kids OFF artificial colors (ie., FD&C red, yellow, blue,green) and preservatives (BHT, BHA) and sugar (real or fake) and their symptoms will dramatically improve or disappear. These artificial ingredients are known neuro-toxins and are illegal in much of Europe and Japan but are in many foods heavily marketed to kids inthe USA. Improve memory, concentration, focus, sleep, moods, when these are eliminated from the diet. EAT REAL FOOD! We are what we eat...
peachezsanchez peachezsanchez 6 years
I have tried to get my son checked but his doctor says its just normal behaviors for a 4 year old n they can't really know thru tests untill they are 7 or 8 but my son has most of these symptoms also I don't want to drug him so how can I calm him down with out drugs
gizelleroblesvalenzuela gizelleroblesvalenzuela 6 years
I really need to seek help for my in doubt that my son has ADHD coz of all the signs he have it.
SerenaMemering SerenaMemering 6 years
way too many children are being diagnosed, and medicated on the suggestion of the teacher's...when in actuality it is lack of discipline, lack of being able to discipline, and simply...being a kid :-/
JessicaMcDonald71594 JessicaMcDonald71594 6 years
Did you know that PTSD can be confused as ADHD in children as well? My niece has PTSD, she's 10, it was first diagnosed as ADHD because they have similar symptoms...
cofybons cofybons 6 years
Tnx for these ...its a big help for all parents! God bless...
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