A fellow father of twins writes in and asks, “My twins are a little over four. My biggest concern in the coming months would have to be getting them to listen more and focus on what we are doing. They just don’t seem to listen at all, and it is very frustrating. It is driving me and my wife crazy.”
This is a problem that I think we all have as a parent of twins or parents with children in general. How do we get them to listen?
We have a very similar challenge with our twin girls. It seems that they’re often just in their own little world, playing or talking or simply ignoring us.
Confirm They Are Listening
Despite these challenges, we have had some success in getting our girls to pay attention and listen by first getting their attention and confirming that they are, in fact, listening to us.
Try a statement like, “Look at me.” Followed by what do you want them to actually do or hear from you.
We have found, despite our best efforts, that yelling across the house doesn’t seem to work. This could be calling them to dinner, it could be asking them if they did their chores, or trying to ask a simple question. Yelling across the house doesn’t work.
Unless you are making eye contact and can see that they are, in fact, like looking at you and listening, you cannot assume that they are getting your message.
Another important thing to consider is that you confirm understanding. Ask them to do something or tell them something, and then you say, “What did dad ask you to do?”
Definitely avoid yes or no questions because they may have interpreted your request one way when, in fact, you meant something completely different.
Our girls also respond very well to positive praise and attention. If you shower the positive affirmations and attention upon your twins, you will likely see they may respond positively and listen appropriately and want to do that in the future. This works great, particularly if one twin is doing what is right, and you praise that twin, then the other twin will likewise follow.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
This topic was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Episode 78: Get Twins’ Attention, Mom’s Fatigue, Conflicting Parenting Styles .
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