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How can I handle situations where my child is not listening or following instructions in a gentle way?

Hi all,

I am a mother of a 5-year-old child who is quite energetic and curious about everything around him. While I appreciate his enthusiasm, I am finding it increasingly difficult to manage his behavior. He often ignores my instructions and seems to be lost in his own world, which at times can be dangerous. While scolding him or punishing him may work temporarily, I don't want to be too harsh and make him feel discouraged or disheartened.

So, I wanted to seek some advice from fellow parents on how to handle such situations using a gentle approach. How can I encourage my child to listen and follow instructions without resorting to yelling or punishment? Are there any practical tips or strategies that have worked for you in similar situations?

Thank you!

All Replies


Hello everyone,

I agree with the tips and techniques already shared. As a parent myself, I have also found that using a respectful and empathetic approach with my child has been the most effective in getting them to listen and follow instructions.

One thing that has worked for me is to acknowledge my child's feelings and concerns. For instance, if my child was upset about something, rather than brushing it aside or dismissing it, I would take the time to listen to their concerns and empathize with them. This helped to build trust and a sense of safety, which in turn made them more willing to listen to and follow my instructions.

Another thing that has worked for me is to focus on the positive. Rather than constantly admonishing my child for their behavior, I would try to focus on the positive things that they did. For example, if my child cleaned their room without being asked, I would praise them and thank them for doing it. This helped to reinforce good behavior and made them feel appreciated.

Lastly, I would try to be consistent with my expectations and consequences. If my child did something that was not allowed, I would calmly explain why it was not okay and what the consequence would be. This helped to establish boundaries and made it clear to my child what was expected of them.

All in all, using an empathetic and respectful approach, focusing on the positive, and being consistent with boundaries and consequences can be effective ways to get your child to listen and follow instructions. It takes patience and practice, but with time, you will find what works for you and your child.


Hi there,

I completely understand your concern and have gone through a similar phase with my child. I realized that kids this age are constantly exploring and pushing boundaries, which can be tiring for parents. What worked for me was being patient and using positive reinforcement.

One strategy that worked was breaking down the task into smaller steps and giving my child praise for completing each step. For instance, if I wanted my child to tidy their room, I would break it down into smaller tasks like first picking up the toys, then arranging the books, etc. Once they completed a step, I would praise them and reward them with a sticker or high-five. This encouraged them to keep going and they felt a sense of accomplishment with each step.

Another approach that helped me was to explain why a certain behavior was expected of them. I would explain to my child the reason behind the task or instruction, such as "We need to tidy up our room, so that we can take care of our things and find them easily next time we need them." Understanding the reason behind the instruction helped my child see why it was important.

Lastly, I found that being consistent with my expectations and consequences helped my child understand what was expected of them. If they did not follow an instruction, I would calmly remind them of the expectation and the consequence. It helped them learn that their behavior had consequences, without me having to yell or punish them.

I hope these strategies help you as well. Good luck!



I can totally relate to your situation. My daughter was a handful when she was five, always running around, not paying attention to anything I said. I found myself always yelling at her to get her to listen, but that never worked.

Instead, I discovered that getting down to her level and speaking to her calmly and assertively was the best way to get her to listen. For example, if I was trying to tell her to stop running around at the park, I would crouch down and say "Hey, can you come here for a second? I need to talk to you. Running around is not safe and I don't want you to get hurt." This way, I wasn't yelling and I had her full attention.

Another thing that worked was giving her a choice. Rather than telling her what to do, I would give her two options, both of which were acceptable to me. For example, instead of saying "Go take a bath now," I would say "Do you want to take a bath before or after dinner?" This gave her a sense of control and made her more willing to cooperate.

Lastly, I would try to make following instructions into a game. For instance, I would make a chart with tasks for her to complete (brush teeth, tidy room, set the table, etc.) and give her a sticker for each task completed. Once she earned a certain number of stickers, she could choose a reward (watch a movie, pick a treat, etc.).

I hope these tips help! Remember to stay calm and patient, and try to make it fun for your child. They'll be more willing to cooperate if they feel like they're playing a game or have some say in what's happening.



I completely understand your situation. My son was very active when he was younger and often did not listen to what we were saying. Yelling at him or punishing him did not work either.

One approach that worked for me was to use a visual cue or a gesture to get his attention. For instance, I would touch his arm gently, make eye contact and give him a sign that would indicate to him that I wanted him to listen. This worked well because it was a subtle gesture, and I didn't have to yell or raise my voice.

Another technique that worked for me was to make things into a story or a game. For instance, if I wanted him to clean up his room, I would make it into a game where he had to be a superhero and rescue his toys from the 'tornado' that had hit his room. This made the task more interesting, and he was more willing to clean up.

Lastly, I found that offering him praise and encouragement when he did something well motivated him to listen and follow instructions. If he did something that I asked him to do, I would give him a high-five or a hug, and tell him how proud I was of him.

In conclusion, getting a child's attention, turning things into a story or game, and praising good behavior can be effective ways to get kids to listen and follow instructions. It's important to be patient and consistent and understanding that every child is different, and some techniques may work better than others.


Hello everyone,

I completely agree with all the tips and suggestions provided. As a parent, I have also had many challenging situations where my child has not listened or followed instructions, and I have found it helpful to approach things with a positive attitude.

One thing I find effective is to be clear and concise when giving instructions to my child. I try to give one or two simple instructions at a time, and I make sure that they understand what they need to do before moving on to the next task. This way, my child doesn't feel overwhelmed, and they are more likely to follow through.

Another approach that has helped me is to involve my child in the decision-making process. For example, when it's time for them to take a bath, I give them choices like which toy they would like to bring in the tub, what color soap they want to use, etc. It gives them a sense of control and makes them more willing to listen and follow instructions.

Lastly, I think it's important to give positive feedback when my child does listen and follow instructions. Whether it's a simple "thank you" or a high-five, acknowledging their good behavior encourages them to continue engaging in that behavior.

In conclusion, being clear and concise with instructions, involving my child in decisions, and giving positive feedback have been helpful in getting my child to listen and follow instructions. It takes time and patience, but with practice and consistency, positive results are achievable.

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