How to get Young Children to do as they are Told

Young children, especially those under the age of six or seven, can be difficult at times. If you have multiple young children, it’s imperative that they do as they are told and that the household runs smoothly. Otherwise, total chaos will quickly occur. 

However, even the most docile child can occasionally be difficult and refuse to listen or do as they are told. This is where parents or those who are caring for the child need to have patience and remember to keep their cool. After all, he or she is still just a child. There are a few things you can do to get a young child to listen and do what he or she is told.

Stay calm

Children are far more likely to actually mind whenever the adult remains calm and doesn’t resort to raising their voice or issuing threats. Whenever a child hears a parent or other adult raise their voice, they typically will become frightened due to the volume and will not hear what they are being instructed to do. Making threats seldom works on a child, because when a parent is upset, they usually do not make threats that can actually be followed through with.

Avoid arguing and confrontation

When a parent or other caretaker argues with a child, they are merely showing themselves to have the same maturity level as the child. Avoid extended explanations or going back and forth with the child about what you are asking him or her to do. Depending on the child’s age, you may need to show him or her what needs to be done. Once you’ve made them aware of what they need to do, give them a time limit to get it done.

When setting a time limit after telling young children to do something, also be sure to be very clear about what the consequences will be if they do not get said task done. Don’t change the rules on the child during a task or change the consequences. Be upfront and direct about what needs done, how long they have to get it done and what the consequences are for not doing as they’ve been told.

Be consistent

Another key to getting young children to do as they are told is to be consistent. Don’t change from day to day, the chores or behavior you expect from them. Being inconsistent can cause a child to become frustrated and make them less likely to listen or pay attention to your instructions and rules. Make certain there are set consequences for each rule that is broken or for each chore that is not completed. This will help you to avoid tears and temper tantrums later if you stay consistent from the beginning.

Make sense

Even very young toddlers can grasp simple concepts of cause and effect. If you are trying to teach your child to do or not do something, be clear about the behavior expected. Give a short explanation (that a child can understand) of why you want something done or not done. Then be clear and firm about what the consequences are. It’s a good idea to make sure the consequences match the misbehavior.

Parenting or caring for young children can be frustrating and it can be aggravating to try to get them to do what they are told. Simply maintaining your cool, keeping explanations simple and setting consequences can have a positive effect on your young child’s behavior. Make sure that your expectations of your young child’s behavior are realistic. Before setting up rules or chores, keep in mind your child’s age and his or her developmental level. Maintain consistently, stay calm and keep your sense of humor – parenting small children isn’t easy, but the time goes by quicker than you really want or expect it to.