It’s funny how easily your children ignore you when you ask them to pick up a toy or clean their room or finish their green beans, yet they cannot seem to ignore the talkative kid in class during tests. Ignoring you or their elders is not acceptable, but sometimes your children need to practice their selective hearing skills to keep out of trouble or avoid situations that are distracting to them in class or during extracurricular activities. Even though you know your children are perfectly capable of ignoring certain things, you can help them practice that skill to use in certain situations--other than while cleaning their rooms or leaving their younger siblings alone.
The Turtle Technique
You can help teach young children to ignore negative behaviors, such as kids who are talking during class or children who aren’t being kind to them on the playground by teaching the turtle technique. This is a simple technique that involves a few easy-to-remember steps. Teach your child to drop her head, put her hands by her side and focus on whatever it is she is doing. Remind her that it is important not to talk to or interact with the children who are attempting to distract her.
If you want your child to ignore negative behaviors when he is mobile – not sitting at his desk or a table in class – teach him to walk away. He does not have to confront or become distracted by others’ negative behaviors on the playground. Encourage him to turn around and walk away from a negative situation and to repeat a mantra in his mind saying his will not listen or look at the person who is exhibiting negative behavior.
Sometimes children are put in a situation worse than being distracted by a friend or classmate. If ever she is put in a situation in which another person is teasing her in a hurtful manner or bullying her, she needs to know that ignoring this person is far more effective than responding with tears or requests to stop. She should walk away from this other child and report the incident to an adult if the child doing the bullying is threatening your child or scaring her in any way. Bullying is something that children can change by reporting bullies to those in authority.
Teach Your Child to Think First
Ignoring negative behaviors is not always easy, but if your child takes the time to think about the negative behaviors of others, it helps. Sometimes children are tempted to join in when other children are behaving negatively, especially when those children are his friends. However, teaching your child to stop and think about the consequences of this negative behavior will help him to ignore it rather than participate. If he understands that negative behaviors result in negative consequences, he is less likely to want to join in.