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Getting Your Toddler to Listen


Getting Your Toddler to Listen

Elizabeth Nelson, M.S., LMHP
Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health

​​It's actually very common for toddlers not to listen. Unfortunately they're not born knowing how to listen and they learn through experience. They might experience some positive outcomes for listening or some negative outcomes for listening and that's really what helps them learn.

How do I give effective instructions to my toddler?

On the front end they can be very aware of how they're giving instructions. The way they tell their child to do something can have a big impact on whether or not their toddler will follow that instruction or not.

Giving direct commands, simple commands, stating commands positively, all of those will increase the likelihood that a child will do what they've been told to do.

How do I improve my toddler's listening?

To help kids learn we want to be telling them what they're doing well. As soon as they follow that instruction, nice job listening, I like it when you follow instructions, great job getting your pajamas on. It's a really easy thing for a parent to get in to the habit of doing.

When should I seek help for my toddler?

It's not unusual for children to test the limits. That's how they learn but if you're having difficulty where your toddler isn't listening and it's making it difficult for you to get to work; to get your child to eat, get your child to go to bed or if you're working on potty training and you can't get your child to sit on the toilet and stay on the toilet, if it's causing any sort of disruption in your life that's a good time to seek some additional help.​​

Most toddlers have perfect hearing, but almost none have perfect listening. Do you find that no matter how many times you ask or what voice tone you use, your toddler just won't listen? Elizabeth Nelson M.S, LMHP, Staff Therapist at Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health, offers tips, strategies and techniques to improve the listening skills of your toddler.