Q: My five-year-old is constantly daydreaming and often doesn’t notice when we call her. In sports, she spends a lot of time banished to the sidelines because she doesn’t listen to her coaches. How can I keep her head out of the clouds — especially when she’s at school?
A: Calling out to a child like this is not likely to be effective — you need to be sure you have her attention. To help her learn to listen, make sure you go over to your daughter, get down to her level and make eye contact when you have something to say to her. Then have her repeat it so you know she heard you. Make sure she understands that there are consequences for not listening — in sports, it means she doesn’t get to play; maybe at home it means she misses out on a snack or an outing. Once she sees a connection between paying attention and getting what she wants, she’ll learn to listen.