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How to make my DD who is 6 years old listen more

(11 Posts)
cowes Wed 04-Jan-17 07:40:41

Hi parents...I haven't felt any need to post on here for quite some time. But I came up against the tip of the iceberg last night when I took my DD to london in the evening and I just lost my temper because I feel I just repeat and repeat myself.
I hate shouting at her, and will try my very hardest not to, but after about the 20th time of having said "don't just run off, you are in central London, and it's very busy" .. once again she just went to walk away from me and her nanny, in a busy part of town. She doesn't "run off", it's more that I impress upon her in some places, IE: crowded london streets where it's easy to get lost, you need to hold hands or stay close.
Anyway...long story short, that ... and countless other messages that I spoke clearly and calmly to her about before we left, and spoke clearly and calmly to her at her level when we were in London, just don't seem to get through.
I feel at the moment all I am doing is barking at her, and I am just about run ragged, as I feel I am not achieving anything right now. I am trying to softly, softly approach of calm and talking to her to make her understand, but it seems to go in one ear and out the other.
This then makes me very bad tempered and I resort to shouting to get her attention. I know the "will you listen to me!" tactic doesn't work, but any advice on how to get our 6 year olds to really listen?

ChuckSnowballs Wed 04-Jan-17 07:56:26


I have a niece that used to run off al the bloody time. when she was 5 her and her sister started coming to stay for period on their own [they live 3 hours away] and telling her to not run off just wasnt working so I devised a game which was if I said a certain word [I won't share it as it would out me] they stood still. I explained it might be because I could see something they couldn't, or that I wanted to catch up, or sometimes just for fun. Once I did it when a cat [which she loves] was just about to pounce on a mouse so I did it quietly when out on a walk and pointed and she tiptoed over to watch. It is our little thing. Make it completely bonkers - and something that you wouldn't say in normal that is she hears it out and about she will recognise it.

I used to teach SEN teenagers and those with behavioural issues - so yeah, ok I got quite a few of my top tips for behaviour management from Kindergarden Cop. No whistles but a safe word that we all understand is key.

Alternatively tell her if she runs off again, you will put her in reigns like a baby and part of going to London is that she needs to hold hands. Last warning. Thing is, she doesn't understand the dangers of London, she is just excited about the lights, and all the things.

ChuckSnowballs Wed 04-Jan-17 07:57:57

Also, I would give her three rules, stay close, hold hands, always be able to see me and get her to repeat them to you way before you go.

aforestgrewandgrew Wed 04-Jan-17 08:01:49

DS used to run off a lot.

Please can I highly recommend the book Calmer Happier Easier Parenting.

Lweji Wed 04-Jan-17 08:02:09

I'd do consequences to her behaviour. If she doesn't go back when called, then you hold hands the entire time

Tell her that's what will happen before you set off and do it of she doesn't listen.
People tend to hear their names, so do call for her name, not just stop or come here.
Use an assertive and firm tone of voice. Most parents sound like begging. Make it sound like a command by a drill sargent.

ofudginghell Wed 04-Jan-17 08:36:53

I'm going to hear lots of drill sergeants next time I'm out and about with my very similar 6 yr old dd then grin

Oliversmumsarmy Wed 04-Jan-17 08:44:52

Maybe not using the phrase "run off" if what they are doing is walking off. I have to be very clear with dd as she takes things literally.

(Very disappointed when her nursery school teacher said it was raining cats and dogs and she could only see rain)

Lweji Wed 04-Jan-17 09:23:59

Also, tell her what she should be doing. Not what she shouldn't.
Stay near me.
Come back to me.
Hold my hand.

JerryFerry Wed 04-Jan-17 09:38:40

So frustrating isn't it. Just bear in mind that she may have poor working memory and therefore unable to retain instructions without (continual) reminders, especially in busy environments where she will be distracted by many sights, smells and noises.

One of my children has exceptionally good working memory and retains everything down to the finest detail and the other one needs constant guidance 🙄 It has helped me to know this about him as I've been able to adjust my expectations. In terms of outings, I have learned to expect the behaviour of a younger child. At home where it's calm and quiet, he can follow instructions very well and in general behaves with more maturity.

DeathMetalMum Wed 04-Jan-17 09:45:05

I'm watching as in a very similar position with dd who is almost 6. I don't think particularly the running off is the issue here is the 'listening to instructions'. School holidays are almost over here but I am totally fed up of repeating myself over and over again. Asking dd to do or not to do certain things every single day and it's exhausting.

cowes Wed 04-Jan-17 20:48:40

Thank you so much - there are some wonderful tactics there and alternative approaches that I can try. It is very good for me to be reminded that indeed,the stimulus would obviously make her tune out repeatedly. Sometimes it just takes other people to point out the bleedin' obvious to me!

Thank you all so much....I have just re-discovered the power of Mumsnet! x

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