Lots of our mums have written in to ask us about this one so trust us you’re not alone on this problem. How many mums can put their hands up and say this has happened recently?
You ask your five year old to put down the games console or turn off the cartoons and help you set the table for dinner but she just ignores you and continues what she was doing before you interrupted her. You repeat yourself and she says noncommittally, ‘okay’ and keeps on watching her cartoons. So, why is she ignoring you all of a sudden?
The reason is simple. Children of this age like to be in charge and they like to be able to do as they please. As they get a greater sense of who they are as an individual they are more likely to rebel against what you tell them to do.As a mum, it can be hard not to take it personally, you’re tired and the last thing you want to do is to coax your child into performing a little task. However, it is part of growing up.So what do you do when she ignores you?
Be clear and have realistic expectations:
Make sure that your requests are specific and attainable. If you say, “Clean your room,” your five year old may just push the clutter around the room for a little bit. However, if you say, “Please put your toys in your toy-box and put your shoes in the closet,” you have a much better chance of her successfully completing the task. Certain tasks can seem daunting to a five year old which is why they may sometimes ignore you. It can help when asking her to do a big job to divide it into smaller parts.
Breakdown your requests:
One of our mums was surprised to discover that her little girl was ignoring her because she just didn’t understand what was expected of her. Keep your request simple and include the steps for her. For instance: “Go to the press in the kitchen, get the milk from the fridge and bring it back to me.”
If you ask your five year old to help set the table, praise every step she makes towards that goal. If she manages to get the forks and put them on the table, praise her and tell her what a good job she did.
Motivate your child:
It’s so tempting to answer your child with: “Because I said so!” But, there are lots better ways to motivate your child to cooperate with your requests.
Use alternatives to no: If your five year old ignores you when you say no, maybe it’s because she hears it too often. Maybe it’s because she knows she can turn that no into a yes.
Instead of saying, “No! Don’t play with that ball in the kitchen” say “Let’s go outside and play, it’s such a nice day”. So, instead of saying no, use the opportunity to encourage her to do something else.
There will be plenty of times when you need to say no, so it’s good to try to limit using it until such an occasion!
Try to be understanding:
Imagine you’re chatting to a friend and suddenly someone tells you to stop what you’re doing and brush your teeth for bed right now. It can help to give them notice beforehand so they know they’re time drawing or playing a game is nearly up. Try saying, “We’re leaving in ten minutes, so please finish that up.” If your five year old is like most, she won’t be too happy but at least she will have gotten a warning.
If your five year old still keeps ignoring you, then talk to her GP as he may recommend a hearing test or another developmental evaluation.