If you find yourself asking your child the same question over and over (and over), this should be music to your ears: You can actually get your kids to listen the first time. For starters, show that listening matters by turning off or pausing electronic media; kids can’t focus on you when they’re in front of a screen. Here, EQtainment founder Sofia Dickens offers five more ways to help your kids learn to listen up.

Show your child what it looks like to listen. 

Okay, so your kid’s not listening–but they are watching. So watch yourself next time your child says something. Stop what you’re doing, get down on their level and look them in the eyes. That shows them you care about what they’re saying — and models for them what good listening looks like.

 

Vary the tone in your voice. 

Be playful when you talk to your kids, especially when you’re asking them to do something. Switch up your pitch or mix in a whisper to capture their interest.

 

Read together. 

Reading stories to your child lets them practice paying attention. Encourage them to show off their active listening skills by asking what they think will happen next in the story.

 

Throw a Dance Party USA. 

Put on some music. When it’s soft, dance on tip-toe. When it’s loud, march around. You can even let your child play choreographer, copying their movements as they do their own interpretive dance as the music changes. Concentrating on the sound helps kids learn to focus when people talk too.

 

Thank them for being good listeners. 

Offer positive reinforcement when they do listen well. You’ll leave them smiling ear to ear — and ready to pay attention next time too. Hear, hear!