No one really wants to have to yell at their kids to get their attention, right? The thing is, children's brains transition much more slowly than adult brains do, which means even if they hear you talking, you don't necessarily have their attention. Here are four easy ways to get their attention without yelling, while also building connection and strengthening your bond with your child.

1. Be silly
Getting down on their level and being silly and playful invites them from their world of fun and imagination and into your world of fun.

  • "I can't remember, are your eyes purple? Do you have purple eyes? Can I see them?"
  • "Are my eyes opened or closed?" (Then keep one eye open and one eye closed like you're winking at them.)
  •  "My tongue! It's stuck out! I can't get it back in! I need some one to poke my tummy so my tongue will pop back in my mouth!"
2. Be curious
When you take time to notice what they're engaged in or mention something you admire or love about what they're doing, it gently shifts their focus to you.

  • "I see you're coloring a rainbow. It looks like you used all of the colors and made it really big and bright. What is your favorite thing about this picture?"
  • "It looks like you're having fun playing with your Paw Patrol toys. What kind of adventure are they on?"
3. Gently touch their shoulder, cheek, or chin
Getting down at eye level or lower disarms children and helps them instinctively know that you are not there for a power struggle or to control them. Gently touch their shoulder, cheek, leg, or chin to get their attention while asking a question about the activity they're engaged in. "You're paying really close attention to this LEGO project. What are you building?

4. Sing or whisper
If you need their attention right away, and can't get close to them, try singing their name or even whispering if you're close enough that they'll hear it. This is a low-pressure way to get their attention and help draw them to you.

5. Instead of counting to three, have them count
Many parents use the 1...2...3... method to get their children to listen or obey. Instead of counting to get your child's attention, help them access the logical and problem-solving parts of their brain by inviting them to count.

  • "How many fingers am I holding up?"  (If they answer and then look away quickly, do it again, or quickly change how many fingers you're holding up so they pay closer attention.)
Children can easily get lost in their own imaginative world and focused on their own agenda - and that's a good thing, it's one of the things we love about them! As a Peacemaker Parent, you can gain their attention without getting harsh or yelling, and draw them back into a trusting, safe, and peaceful "real world." 

Want to learn more about Peacemaker Parenting Preschoolers? Our upcoming LIVE workshop will fill your parenting toolbox with trust-based, peacemaking parenting tools, especially for the preschool years. 



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