How to Speak to Kids So They Listen

children speaking

Do you find it challenging to deal with your child’s negative feelings? Do you wonder how to speak to kids so they listen? Does teaching kids to speak feel like “Mission Impossible”?


mother and child lying in bed speaking to each other


If any of these challenges apply to you, then you are in the right place. Let us explore together the top 5 tips of Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, internationally acclaimed experts on communication between parents and children.

three little children dancing at home and smiling



#1. Help Your Children Deal with Their Feelings

It is important to acknowledge your kid’s feelings because otherwise, you will teach them not to trust them. In addition, if kids do not properly process their feelings, this can easily lead to destructive behaviours. To help your child manage a difficult feeling, follow these steps.

girl sitting in a sofa with her face in her hands looking sad


First, listen quietly and attentively. Then, acknowledge the feeling with a word and give it a name. Last, but not least, give your kid his or her wishes in fantasy. For instance, say: “I wish I could make the pandemic go away, so you could once again go to school physically.”


little boy dressed in blue standing in the corner


#2. Look for Alternatives to Punishments

Ok, all feelings have the right to exist. However, how to speak positively to your child if he or she engages in unacceptable behaviors? Well, punishments can easily make the kid feel as though the behavior is a character flaw rather than a problem. Therefore, it is recommendable to make use of the following alternatives.


mother speaking to her little boy teaching and explaining


First, express your feelings strongly, but do not attack character. Second, state your expectations. Third, offer multiple options for making amends and give your kid the freedom to choose.

Naturally enough, take appropriate action when your children abuse their privileges. Yet, make sure you look together for a suitable compromise.


autunomy with kids little girl sititng and writing in a notebook


#3. Encouraging Autonomy

If you want to teach your kids to be independent, help them develop their autonomy. Invite them to choose between pre-approved options. Also, show respect when they struggle without jumping into rescuing mode.
Next, avoid asking too many private questions and do not rush to answer questions. Instead, encourage your kids to check out other sources of information.


praise kids parents clapping at their child for successfuly arranging colorful toys


#4. Praise

If you wonder how to speak to children so they listen, do not underestimate the power of praise. It is not enough to say “Great job!” when your kid succeeds at something. Instead, describe what you see and how it makes you feel. Besides, sum up the praiseworthy behavior with a word.


kids screen time little girl and boy laying in bed looking at a tablet


#5. Free Your Kids from Playing Roles

If you repetitively label a child something (crybaby, complainer, stubborn, etc.), they start to see themselves in that label. So, here are some more tips on how to speak to your child.


little girl in a white dress with sunglasses dancing on the beach with the sea in the background


First, search for opportunities to help your kids see themselves in a new way. Second, let your children overhear you say something positive about them. On top of that, it is helpful to model the behavior you want to encourage.
Next, whenever your kid acts according to the old labels, raise awareness and share your feelings/expectations. Yet, also be the one who reminds your kids of their previous special moments of success and speak their love language.


learning with kids mom teaching her little girl the alphabet showing her the letter E


This was our selection of ideas for better getting along as a family. We hope that this article will help you become a more effective parent by learning how to speak to kids.


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