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Not listening

It can be tough to keep your cool and know what to do when your child doesn’t listen to you. They might whine, complain, negotiate, pretend not to hear you or just say no. At this age, children are developing their independence, and looking for opportunities to show their power. So while it’s frustrating in the moment, when you face this challenge, it’s often a sign your child is becoming a strong, independent individual! Devie can help you strike the balance between giving your child opportunities to be independent and make choices, and setting firm limits.

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Three things to know about children not listening


Sometimes, they’re just simply focused on something else

When your child is fully engaged in something, such as watching TV or playing with a favourite toy, all their concentration and attention is on this. So, sometimes ignoring isn’t done out of spite - they’re just fully engrossed in what they’re doing.


Following instructions means stopping what they’re doing

Often, your child will purposely ignore or refuse your instructions because they have to stop what they’re doing, and likely will have to start doing something they don’t enjoy. They won’t want to listen because they don’t want to switch from something they enjoy, to something they don’t. This doesn’t mean you give in, but it does help you keep perspective. Your child isn’t defying you, they’re just telling you they don’t want to switch activities.


Remember to keep instructions simple

When we give our kids instructions, it’s easy to forget that their brains work differently from ours. They’re still developing the ability to understand instructions, focus, and control their impulses and emotions. So, it’s important to remember to keep instructions simple and easy to follow, as longer and more detailed instructions may be too much to process at this age.

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Go from surviving to thriving with Devie

Devie uses psychology and the science of child development to help you solve challenges, and build your child’s social and emotional skills in the process. It all starts with crafting a personalised, research-based plan.