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All about Parenting Toddlers, Issue #024 - Getting kids to listen and Teaching children through play
April 01, 2004

Shaping the life of your precious ones

All about Parenting Toddlers
Issue #024
1st April 2004

Welcome to another issue of All about Parenting Toddlers .

In This Issue:

1. Getting Kids To Listen
2. Teaching Young Children Through Work and Play
3. Latest updates on Parenting Toddlers

Getting Kids To Listen

By Elizabeth Pantley, author of Kid Cooperation and Perfect Parenting

One of the hardest parts of parenting is getting our kids to listen to us, and then, of course, getting them to do what we ask! If you remember to use a few important skills this job will be much easier for you.

Think before you speak.
You tell your daughter it's time to leave, then take twenty more minutes to get yourself ready. You ask your kids to clean up the family room, then allow the mess to remain for the night. You threaten to cancel your child's party if he sasses you again. He does, but you don't. All these scenes create kids who have "selective hearing." Instead, take a minute to think before you issue a command, be specific, and your words will become more accurate and meaningful.

Be very specific.
Don't "hint" at what you want your child to do: "It would be nice if you... " or "Don't you think you should..' Don't make an incomplete request: "Soon you'll have to get ready to go." Don't be vague: "You know better than that..."

Instead, be clear and specific. State your requests in a way that will not be misunderstood "Please put your shoes and coat on and get in the car " or "Please hang up your clothes and put your books on the shelf. " or "Sit here and use a quiet inside voice."

Control your emotions.
When you lose your temper and raise your voice the logical result would be that your kids would pay closer attention to you. In fact, the opposite is often true! Kids often key in on your anger, but miss the point of your words.

Studies show that most of our communication is conveyed through our presentation (body language, tone of voice, etc.) Kids will focus on your emotions, and dismiss your words. Instead keep your voice even and calm, and your words clear and specific to get better results. To do this, remember to think first, determine exactly what you want, and make your words convey a tone of authority.

Get up close and personal.
While it's a whole lot easier to yell from two rooms away, its much less effective. Children respond much, much better to a parent who is facing them eye-to-eye. In addition, when you are standing close by you can determine if your child is paying attention to you, without having to gauge the meaning of a few distant grunts. It takes a few extra minutes to get face to face, but will save you from getting angry as you repeat your request over and over again.

It will take practice to master these skills. Simply reading this article will not change your style. You will need to remind yourself of what you are trying to do, and keep your goals fresh in your mind. Its important to give yourself time to learn how to use these ideas, and to be kind and forgiving to yourself when you make mistakes. None of us are born knowing how to parent. Its a tough job, but with a few new skills and enough practice you'll be successful!


Wish you could work from *home* and spend more time with your toddler/young children? Here are some of the things you could do right from the comfort of your home ..


Teaching Young Children Through Work and Play

By the National Association for the Education of Young Children

We have learned so much recently about the importance of play for young children that many families may overlook how meaningful work can also nurture development.

Young children flourish when allowed to enter the world of real work that surrounds them - from picking up toys or feeding the cat to grating carrots for salad. In the company of family or other adults, children eagerly engage in work. They want to 'help' with the pursuits of adults, and this work can be a crucial part of their early learning.

If you shield young children from a whole category of activity simply because it is called 'work' and not 'play,' you may be limiting their developmental opportunities.

On the other hand, if you invite children to participate in work and play, you give them many more ways to grow and learn.

Through work that is meaningful and a real contribution to the family or group, even young children can gain a sense of purpose, and come to feel more a part of the family. With proper adult supervision, there are many types of chores that families can consider for young children, which can help them begin learning about responsibility, independence and caring for themselves.

Here are a few examples:

Gathering, preparing, and cooking food
Even when they are too young to help with lunch or dinner, children can play a role in preparing snacks. And by taking your children to the grocery or market, you can help them better understand where food comes from and how we buy it. Running errands
Letting young children run errands conveys your feelings of trust in them. When you need something - another family member or the phone or a sponge - tell one of your children you need help.

Caring for younger children
Even simple tasks (like reading or singing to younger family members) help older children learn about responsibility and sharing.

Children can help set the table and serve themselves at meals. If you are vacuuming the carpet, you can empower your child by letting him run this most-adult-of-all housekeeping tool.

Caring for animals
Pets and livestock require water, food and clean environments. Young children can learn valuable lessons by caring for animals.

Nurturing plants helps children learn about the wonders of nature. If you don't have space for a garden, a small window planter can bring opportunities to explore.

In all of these activities, it's important to remember several points:

~ Keep in mind what your children can accomplish, and how much you need to supervise to make sure the activity is safe.
~ Even young children can tell the difference between busy work and real work.
~ Also, remember that many chores actually take longer with the help of young children, but a little patience and a few extra minutes lets them reap real benefits from assisting the family.

By matching your expectations to their abilities, encouraging and approving their efforts, and allowing plenty of time for the performance of each task, you can give your young children many opportunities to learn and grow through work.


A carefully designed mix of play that empahsizes physical skills like movement, coordination, gross motor skills and mental skills such as colors, numbers, etc.

Latest updates on Parenting Toddlers

The Parenting Toddlers website is constantly being updated with more information. Below are the latest additions :

Simple toddler games ideas

Parent's role in child dental care

Compilation of some common child fingerplays

Safety tips when choosing or using a toddler bed

List and review of some child book of the month club available today

Remember to check back often for more updates on parenting toddlers.

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See you in the next issue. :-)

All the best,

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