how to talk so kids will listen

Sometimes, as parents, we feel like we say things over and over again, and they don’t seem to make an impression. So how to talk so kids will listen?

That is a question all mummies and daddies have posed to themselves at some point. Here at CaptainMums, we have a few tips and recommendations for you about how to talk so kids will listen – it is actually simpler than you may think! 

In order to make our little ones understand what we say, we need to consider that, as smart as they are, they are still children. Sometimes, things that are obvious to us are not so obvious for their innocent and pure minds, and we need to specify them. Don’t miss the following tips!


How to talk so kids will listen

The following recommendations will help you improve your communication with your kids. Try them, and you see how things get better!

  1. Use simple explanations: Use literal and simple phrases to talk to your kid, especially if he or she’s very young. We tend to use expressions and figures of speech that kids don’t always understand.

  2. Repeat a few times: Yes, you may be tired of saying things over and over again, but keep in mind that it is necessary: Children have their own things in mind as well! Say things as many times as necessary, and try to keep your cool: Patience is one of the best qualities for a mum!

  3. Talk face to face: An important think to consider when learning how to talk so kids will listen is to get down to your little one’s level, literally: Your gestures are also communicating things to your kid, and he will listen to you more if you are face to face. Duck to talk to him, or sit down, so he doesn’t have to look up to you. That will create a greater bond between the two of you and will favour communication.

  4. Give them detailed instructions… If you want your kid to do something, it’s better to carefully explain what you want. For instance, if you tell them just: “tidy up your room”, you probably won’t get the result you’re looking for, since your kid will be disoriented with such a broad request. It’s better to ask them to do it step by step, so they can process your instructions: Tell them first to put the books on the shelves, then to put the toy cars in their box, and so on.

  5. And do so with a soft tone of voice: An important “rule” on the topic of how to talk so kids will listen is not to appear angry to them. Following the same example as in the tip above, if you tell them to tidy up in an angry way, your kid will probably be disoriented and sad because they will see that you’re disappointed, but they won’t understand why. It’s a much better approach to say something like: “Wow! Look at the mess we have in here!”; but with a happy voice instead of an angry one. Besides, your little one will follow your instructions with a better attitude, since they won’t have the impression of being reprimanded. Another way to soften up your commands is to use yourself as the subject: “I would really like for you to put your toy cars in their box”, or “Mummy will be very happy if you now tidy up your toy cars”, will always have a better effect than just “put your toy cars in their box”.

  6. Give them some notice: We already explained that sometimes it is necessary to repeat things… Well, this is it as well! Warning your child in advance of what you’re about to do is a good way of getting it done on time. You can tell your kid that you will have dinner soon, so he should be thinking of tidying up, instead of not giving notice at all. If he’s very concentrated playing, he’ll probably need sometime to get to do what you asked, so giving them notice is a good way to speed up the process.

  7. Listen to them too: If you want your child to listen to you, you should have the same attitude towards him. They will really appreciate that you listen to their stories, and that you ask them questions about them. Don’t interrupt them when they’re telling you something, and try to look interested – even if you aren’t, or they’ve explained the same story before. Make some time to have conversation with your child as well, since that will also improve the communication between the two of you.

  8. Be firm: Stick to your decisions, even if being gentle at the same time. If you change your mind too much, your child won’t take you seriously the next time you say no or ask them to do something they don’t want to do. Besides, when it’s important that they obey, let them know.  

  9. Ask them about what you just said: Make sure your little one understood what you asked by enquiring them about it. You can just ask if they understood, or just ask them to repeat the instruction: “So what will we have to do as soon as we get home”?

  10. Use their name: We all like to hear our own name, so make sure to say your little one’s whenever you ask something of him. Besides, it’s also a great way to call their attention and make sure they listen to what you’re about to say.


So, do you know now how to talk so kids will listen? With these easy tips, you will probably manage to improve communication with your children. If none of them work, you may be dealing with a bit of a stubborn little one – check our article on disciplining toddlers, since you may find there some useful tips. But remember, the most important thing is patience!