Ignores instructions

What to do when your child ignores instructions.

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Q: Every time I ask my six-year-old to do something, she ignores me. I’ve tried different approaches, including positive discipline, yelling and staying calm, but nothing seems to help.

A: Tell your daughter you’re tired of repeating yourself — from now on, you’re only going to tell her things once. Then stick to it. You can ask her to put on her pyjamas and then leave the room. If you let her know by your behaviour that you believe she can and will do what she’s asked, she is much more likely to comply. But if you stay around to remind or nag or yell, she’ll be more interested in seeing if she can make you really angry.

If your daughter doesn’t do what she’s asked in a reasonable amount of time, you can surprise her by saying, “Oh, it looks like you want to sleep in your clothes. OK, let’s go brush your teeth.” Or you can simply get her pyjamas and start taking off her clothing and putting her into her PJs.

When you are consistent in this way, your daughter will start listening — especially if she finds that by not listening she misses things like her snack or an outing because she didn’t respond the first time you asked.

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