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How Do I Get My Kids to Listen to Me?
Julie Freedman Smith & Gail Bell

Many kids grow accustomed to mom or dad saying things three or four times. They don’t really even... more

How Do I Get My Kids to Listen to Me?
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Many kids grow accustomed to mom or dad saying things three or four times. They don’t really even have to listen until a parent is frustrated and yelling at them. So how do we change this habit?

We make sure that we only ask once, and expect kids to act the first time.

Remember to follow AID:
A: Attention
I: Instruction
D: Direction

Attention: Get your child’s attention before you ask them to do anything. If they are watching TV, get between them and the box. If they are across the school yard, go to them. You need to be right beside the child.

Instruction: Once you have your child’s attention, give the instruction. Don’t ask, ‘Are you ready for dinner?’, say, ‘It’s time for dinner.’

Direction: You are right beside your child so if they don’t listen, now is the time to direct them to do the behaviour. ‘Are you turning off the TV or am I? Are you walking up to dinner on your own or with my help?’

When we ask things once and expect our kids to follow through the first time, we are teaching them a new habit.

Remember: Do not ask your kids to do something unless you are right there to ensure that it will happen the first time. This is especially important for parents with an infant and an older child. Too often, we repeatedly ask the older child to do something while we are changing the baby’s diaper. The older child knows that we cannot enforce our request so it falls on deaf ears.

This sounds like a hassle and it does require extra effort up front. However, it stops the energy-drain and frustration that comes from nagging incessantly and it teaches your kids to respond the first time. Once you’ve changed the habit, you can experiment with how far you need to be from your child when you give an instruction.

Image of yelling parents from Shutterstock.

Julie Freedman Smith and Gail Bell provide tools for real life parenting through their company, Parenting Power™. Using over 40 years of combined experience, they work with parents across the country through telephone coaching and teleconferences to ease the stress and guilt of parents while providing practical solutions to everyday parenting challenges. Visit to ask your own parenting questions, and learn how to receive 20% off all services as a Parenting Power Member!
Comments | Tagged under parenting, tips, solutions, fights
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4 Active Games to Keep Them Moving on Halloween
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If you’ve got little ones at home, a fun alternative to trick-or-treating is a Halloween party. You don’t have to worry about the weather, too-spooky scares, and buckets and buckets of sugar. You can still make the night a memorable and festive affair with fun games, snacks, and of course, some activities that get them up, moving, and burning off some of that energy. Here are some of our favourite ways to get goblins up and moving.

Monster freeze dance
Put on ‘Monster Mash’ and other seasonal tunes. Have kids show off their silliest monster dance moves, but they must freeze in place when the tunes turn off!

Pumpkin bowling
Choose smallish pumpkins with short stems (depending on the ages of your party guests). Set up 1- or 2-liter plastic bottles and tape off a starting line for an instant bowling alley. Fill the bottles with a bit of sand or rice if they topple over too easily. You can also have kids decorate the bottles with stickers, markers, and other art materials.

Musical pumpkins
Cut pumpkin shapes from construction paper and arrange them on the floor; kids must move from pumpkin to pumpkin while music plays, just like in musical chairs. To keep kids from being excluded, allow them to share pumpkins as you remove a pumpkin for each round. By the end of the game, all the kids have to squeeze onto one spot. For variety, you could also use spider webs, tombstones, or witchy cauldrons for targets.

Wiggle worm
This goofy race requires kids to work together (and stick together) as a team. Divide the group into two equal teams. Teams must line up and form a ‘worm’. The person at the front of the line reaches his left hand between his legs; the player behind him grabs it with her right hand; and so on all the way to the end of the line. When you say ‘Go’ (or ‘Boo!’), each team must run to a goal line and back. Whichever team gets back first is the winner—but only if their worm is still intact!

Image of Halloween Dance from Shutterstock.

Active for Life is a leading promoter of children’s physical literacy to help parents raise active and healthy kids. In response to increased rates of child obesity and sedentary behaviour, Active for Life was formed in 2011 to give parents the tools to help their children develop skills and habits for lifelong physical activity. At the core of the initiative is the idea that every child deserves to be physically literate. Active for Life is a social enterprise of B2ten, a Canadian organization formed to promote sport and athlete development in Canada. For more information, visit Active for Life.
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