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I have 5 and 4 year old boys who just straight out ignore me. I’m trying all different things but I always seem to fail at it. Any one have any tips to get their attention with out bribery?


Posted by Micka22, 25th May 2015


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  • I agree with most of the comments here, especially Shay’s comment.


  • They are young boys and I bet half the time they are playing around with each other or engaged in more other “interesting ” things. I think timing is important because they will listen when they are at that fee moment . Also if you are constantly yelling at them ( which can happen because you’ve had enough ) , then they will be more inclined not to listen more. Have you tried talking at mealtimes ? I know you have to eat but at least they cant go anywhere and at the one spot .


  • Before I talk to my kids, I make sure that they are looking at me and paying attention to what I am saying. If they don’t look, I turn off the tv, or take away whatever is distracting them so that they do listen. Mostly works for me, sometimes they throw a tantrum, but then I send them to bed for a cool down, and for them to think about what they have done wrong.


  • Try not to yell and be calm. They will just switch off if you are screaming at them and won’t listen. Take away whatever they are concentrated on whether that be the TV or toys. Make sure they hear what you say before allowing them to carry on doing whatever they were doing.


  • i hope that these tips are somewhat helpful to you


  • make sure that you get their full attention. i will turn off the tv etc and then talk to my kids and then get them to tell me what they heard so that i know that they understand.


  • Being a mum of two boys (now aged 10 and 13 years) I know your pain. I still don’t think my boys listen to me but then they come out and mention something I asked them to do a week ago so I’ve now realized they listen and just react in there own time. I would suggest reading “Raising boys” by Steve Biddulph – it has some great suggestions for dealing the boys in general.


  • Get down on their level and quietly speak to them ( which can be more effective) and explain that things will be taken away if they choose to ignore your instructions. I’ve toys TV etc. make sure you follow through otherwise they will definitely not take you seriously. If they ignore you don’t say a word a take the thing away. When they listen and do what you have asked then they can have it back. Be strong firm and consistent.
    Another way is a sticker chart with rewards. Every time they do the right thing sticker them up. Once they have reached a certain amount they get a reward. They will soon see this as such a positive they will be trying all the time to impress you. At first give it for small things then gradually make it for mor esignificant things.

    God luck!!!!


  • My 4yo son is so bad at listening that his preschool insisted that we get his hearing checked. Turns out his hearing is better than most people so his not listening is just major selective deafness. Thanks to the advice from the other responders, I will try to implement some of those suggestions.


  • I find that NOT repeating myself endlessly helps – tell them once, give them one warning, and then impose consequences. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s helped.


  • Without knowing what you currently do, here are a few suggestions:
    – don’t yell (hard I know!!), in fact talking quietly forces them to listen harder
    – instead of bribes try “IF/WHEN you do this for me now, THEN you can do that”
    – it could be that they need some quality 1:1 time spent with you – time that doesn’t involve the usual day to day activities and chores. Even if it’s just 20 minutes. Sit down with them at their level and engage in what they’re doing. Ask them questions about what they’re doing. Engage them in conversation that interests them. Then once you’re all having a good time, say something like “Mummy really loves spending time with you. I love watching you play and seeing you happy and enjoying yourself”…..etc You might just find that they are more willing to listen to you after this kind of interaction.
    Totally get your frustration! Parenting is a hard gig and every child is so different!
    A site that I find quite helpful is http://www.ahaparenting.com She has some great articles and tips.

    Good luck!


  • Just some general things that may help a little, get down to there level to tell them things. Ask them to listen before giving instructions “boys I would like you to listen for a minute while I tell you what we are doing today”.
    Give them warning before changing activities, like in 5 minutes or 3 turns we will be stopping. Set a timer so they can hear maybe.
    Acknowledge when they do listen and be specific about your praise… “thank you for responding when I talked.. You just did what mum asked” just commenting that they listened is a good form of attention.

    Also it could be an age faze but hard work for you!


  • I baby sit many kids and have had three of my own. Getting kids to listen when they are tired and emotional is very hard. I worked out that if you ask them to stop what they are doing in a low calm voice and to come to you. Kneel down to their level and talk to them. Give them eye contact. Give the instructions then say “Do you understand what I just said?” Start with Mummy needs you to pick up all the toys. Mummy needs you to play nicely. Can you do that? Wait for an answer. It is never too late to teach children good behaviour. Praise them at any time they are playing nicely or being good boys. Praise them with kind words of encouragement like Mummy loves to see my boys playing nicely. Mummy loves to see my son being kind. You could reward them with a kiss, a hug or a walk to the park. Not a bribe moving forward showing them that their are rewards for good behaviour. Raising your voice just teaches them that it’s O.K. to do the same. Keep your voice low and calm when you want them to listen to you. Best of luck.


  • I have issues with my kids behavior, all i can say is dont give in to tantrums no matter how bad they get, kids learn if they keep it up long enough they sometimes get what they want. The younger kids tend to cipy the oder kids if they see that behaviour working for them. Maybe try quiet time in their room when they need pulling into line. Its the same as time out but just reworded so not to be scarey. No set time for this other than they are allowed out only when they are ready to do as asked or behave. In quiet time they can color in, read, play lego but not watch tv or play on a electronic device.


  • I still have the same problem with my 9 year old daughter, they do not grow out of it. Having said that I noticed that when she asked for my attention, or for me to help with something I would get irritated that she had asked at an inconvenient time and instead of assisting her I would say in a minute which usually in turn meant I would forget her. I realized that when I was asking for her to do something and she in turn ignored me, she was merely copying my behavior. So I set out to be a little more accommodating and a little less irritated when she asked me at inconvenient times. This in turn made her listen more and ignore my requests less, also if she was busy agreeing on a time frame to carry out instructions works too. She still doesn’t listen sometimes, but she listens a lot more than before.


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