We live in a society today so full of noise, lights, sounds and distractions at every corner. Its a wonder that children are able to focus on getting anything done let alone hear us over all of the distractions.
I’m a distractable person, I think my husband and I joke that I’m like one of the dogs when they see a squirrel. One little shiny light or sound and my focus is gone. And like me, Alexa, my oldest has always tended to get distracted. I remember it peaking when she was about 4 or 5 years old and I was so frustrated that we had a period of time when we were SUPER late for school for several weeks in a row because she just couldn’t focus on getting ready, she was too engrossed in the world around her and the “squirrels” that would lead her down on another treasure hunt. I would ask her 3,4,5,2289741209 times to Please, get her shoes and socks on and I would turn my back and 3 minutes later she was engrossed in another activity with no shoes or socks on.
I didn’t want to yell, I understood the distractions but at the same time, OMG just put your freaking shoes and socks on so we can go…. It was like she wasn’t even listening!
I remember on one morning when I was particularly irritated and we were particularly late, I was walking her into school and one of her teachers clearly saw my frustration level was at the, “OMG this poor woman is going to explode soon or collapse, I don’t know which is worse?!” She gently asked if I was ok and the verbal diarrhea just exploded out of my mouth about my frustration level on my child no longer being able to hear me!
She gave me one of the best pieces of advice to fix this. She said, “Next time you need to ask Alexa to do something, gently grab her hand and say her name and ask her to make eye contact with you, once she does ask her to do the task.” Many times, these children are so overwhelmed by the over stimulation of the world that a gentle touch and eye contact is all they need to be able to STOP, FOCUS and LISTEN to what you are saying. You might say, they will actually HEAR YOU!
I tried it, and while it was not perfect and didn’t work EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I would say our “hearing” rate went from like a measly 15% to about 80%. This really can work at any age and I have actually had my husband put his hand on my shoulder when I am furiously typing and “Mmm-Hmmming” his questions and he knows I’m not listening.
So next time you find yourself wondering, “Hello??? Is Anyone listening?” STOP, TOUCH and EYE CONTACT before you speak might help those little ears, or even the big ones too, hear your message!