Parenting is by far the toughest job any of us will ever have. For most parents it feels like they never stop having to talk to, or nag, their kids so they'll simply listen to what they're saying! It can definitely be frustrating at times simply because all parents want is for their kids to listen the first time when they speak to them so they don't have to get to the point where they're losing their temper or where they get so frustrated they simply end up doing the task they wanted the child to do.
Experts suggest that sometimes parents get frustrated with their kids for not listening because the child is distracted by something else before they begin to speak. Aha! Parenting suggests ensuring you have your child's full attention before you speak to ensure they know you're speaking to them. They suggest even getting down on your child's level and making eye contact before telling them what you'd like them to do so you know they are understanding you.
They also say not to repeat yourself, because if they're not responding you haven't gotten their full attention before you began speaking in the first place. Also make your demands short and sweet and give basic instructions that are easy for kids to follow. It's also important to understand that if your child was busy doing something it may be hard for them to immediately step away and complete the task you've asked. Being able to compromise with your child is also important, but they need to hold up their end of the agreement when the time comes. Reminding children of the compromise they agreed to while being warm but firm can help them stay on task.
Psychology Today says parents should let kids know why they're asking them to do something vs the old standard 'because I said so!'. While most of us would love if your kids did what we asked when we asked without question, that rarely happens. They suggest that telling your child why you're asking them to do something shows that your request isn't arbitrary and that there's a reason behind it, sometimes a reason that can affect them. For instance if you ask them to clean up their toys because their friend is coming over to take them out and they can't leave until their toys are cleaned up they will understand how not cleaning up their toys will affect them.
The site also suggests letting kids often learn from not listening. If you tell your child to put on a coat because it's cold outside and they choose not to, then maybe they won't get to go outside for recess at school because of that. Letting your child suffer the consequences of their actions can be a good way for them to learn to listen in the future without you having to lose your temper or raise your voice.
Parents Magazine also wrote about a DIY workshop titled, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. It gives you five ways to speak so your child listens the first time, including using just a single word to let your children know what you're expecting of them. Instead of explaining that it's bath time and talking so much they tune you out, they suggest simply saying, 'bath.'
They also suggest empowering your child and proving them with choice, while you also state your expectations of them and listen to them when they express their feelings to you. Dealing with kids who don't listen the first time can be frustrating, but often as parents there are ways we can go about speaking to our kids differently that will bring out better results.