The Right Way to Get Attention

How YOU want your child to grab your attention

How They Feel

Everyone remembers when they were a child how much they hated when their parents wouldn't pay attention to them at times. But now that we're all grown up, we understand how annoying we could be to them. If we had just been sweeter, calmer, or even just a little quieter.

The Do's and the Don'ts Guidelines for Your Child and Yourself

The Don'ts:

You know that time that you're in the middle of the grocery store and your child wants something from the toy isle, and they 're trying to grab your attention for it by tugging on your shirt, yelling across the store to you, or even throwing a tantrum? That is NOT the way you want your child to think is the way to grab your attention, so DON'T RESPOND. We know it's hard to let your child scream in the middle of the store with everyone looking. We know you just want them to be quiet, but if you want this to stop then you must go through the bad before the good comes. This is a group effort to teaching your child the right ways of getting your attention: You must have the correct mind set and tools to teach the child, and the child must be cooperative as well.

The Do's:

Children learn nearly EVERYTHING in play and through example. As in, they learn it from what you do and say. If you want your child to quit the tantrums and tugging and pushing then show them what you are okay with and will respond to.

- Model the behavior you are teaching and do it often! If you need your child's attention, tap them on the shoulder, move to her eye level and begin your communication from there.

- Practice! Play with this new skill. Practice with both parents, siblings and friends. Your child can teach her grandparents or teddy bear how to tap on someone's shoulder to get their attention.

-Remind your child of your expectations. If you're on the computer and she whines of begins to cry for attention, remind her, "It looks like you need something. I will respond if you tap me on my shoulder and ask me."

- Celebrate when your child displays this new skill. "Wow, you tapped me on the shoulder because you wanted some milk. I am super happy to get your some. What a great way to get my attention!"

The Bottom Line:

Behavior is meaningful and communicates a message. If a child doesn't have an appropriate way to communicate, they will often use challenging behavior. This is why we must teach our children how to properly communicate in the real world. If they go to the grocery store and cry when they can't find something they want, they may get someones attention, but they most-definitely will not be willing to help them. So help not only your child out, but also help yourself out, and teach your child the right way to grab someones attention.