“Go to your room!” is the single most employed catchphrase to get a kid to listen to you. It’s like drawing a line in the sand and saying: “Should you dare cross it, I’ll show you how your mother-in-law will be!”

As a parent myself, I’ve always looked for less belligerent ways of making my children listen to what I have to say. I have a really bad temper, but surprisingly, the methods I’m going to introduce you to actually work.

Let’s not waste another minute – with my short temper and all – and get right to it.

The Techniques

Game It Up

Have you ever observed that kids tend to be more submissive when a game is involved? Even something as simple as pretending that that piece of broccoli is an airplane is effective.

Here’s another idea that I’ve tried out on a couple of occasions with good results: playing the “Who gets first in bed wins the game and a cupcake tomorrow”. You can experience with all kinds of invented games to get your children to do what they won’t do otherwise.

It sounds outlandish, but it’s supposed to be. The important thing here is that it works 100%.

Ask Them What the Problem Is

There’s a recurring reason why kids would rather do anything else but listen to what you’re trying to say: they feel that all you do is talk and talk forever and that you don’t take 5 minutes off to listen to what they’re saying.

It’s a quite genius move, isn’t it? If there’s something more dangerous than having kids is having bright ones. They’ll always find a way to play the victim and eventually make you fall into the chair and listen.

Do yourself a favor and learn to open your ears once in a while and you’ll discover that they became so much more cooperative. Needless to say, cooperative is good – that’s the ultimate aim of any given parent.

If this doesn’t work either, you’re not completely helpless still.

Get Straight to the Point

“Mark, I want you to brush your teeth and get in bed!” instead of shouting “Mark!” until you run out of breath. The same thing applies to everything you might want to get your children to do.

Repetition kills your credibility and will make them think: “What’s she gonna do, call me 20 more times?” Stop repeating yourself like an out-of-control parrot and you might actually get some results.

Play the Waiting Game

You’ll have to hope that they get tired of pretending that they don’t hear you and get out of their shell. This is the last resort, though. If you do this, don’t start with “Oh, so now you’re aware I exist!” or “I’m glad your ears aren’t fully clogged after all!”.

They’re kids and they’re playful. The reason why they’re not listening to you isn’t’ that they want to hurt your feelings, so take a Valium. If this last method doesn’t work, you’ll have to go full-circle – back to gaming the situation up. That’s guaranteed to work.


Yes, it can be really annoying to keep on talking to the walls; this, however, doesn’t warrant losing it and starting to scream so loudly that the neighbor’s kids freeze in place. Take your time and teach your children that everything’s better when they cooperate.

Just don’t create an “award” system for being attentive, lest you’ll find out that the only way of getting them to listen is to bribe them, and trust me – you don’t want that.