17 answers

8 Year Old Not Listening

Hi, I have an 8 year old boy who for about the past year has been having difficulty following though on directions and keeping focused. For example, at 7:30pm my kids know they have to get pj`s on and clothes ready for the next morning and in bed by 8 for him and his little sister (my 12 year old goes to bed later). Every night I have to tell my 8 year old son over and over to do this. He gets distracted and does something else. This happens when he is supposed to be doing his homework too, he doesnt seem to focus on getting something done in a timely matter,even when we set a timer. I am so tired of repeating myself and I usually get pretty frustrated and after a while I will start raising my voice, which of course doesnt do a darn thing (I guess I need a mans voice, lol). My older son never went through this and knews what we expect from him....any suggestions.
Thanks in advance! N.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi N.:
I am going through the same thing!! Though it is frustrating I am glad to know I am not the only mom who thinks I am losing my mind repeating EVERY single thing. I have asked my son that if he wants to be treated like a 8 yr old its time he needs to listen otherwise there will be consequences. I have also reminded him that he cannot negotiate or argue...I think at this age they try to push and assert how far they can go getting their way. You can even help by charting down stuff for him to do at what time..and remind him to look at his chart..for example changing into PJ's around 7:30 so on and so forth should help...right? I think helping you address the same situation I am in has helped me too. Good luck! Remember this is just a phase....this too shall pass.

Sounds more like he's testing you mommy. Tell him 1 time and that his playtime will be cut down everytime he doesn't listen. Kids need to do things "when you tell them" not when they want or you'll be heading for bigger problems when they hit the teen years. Happy Mothers Day

More Answers

Well first off you need to remember all your children will be different. Maybe he thinks if he stalls, that will allow him to stay up later. Like his older brother. Maybe you can try a reward for that night. Start with very small rewards. I use to set something out as a prize I knew my son would want, but a small reward. Then I would tell him my job to do and his job to do. We would race to see who finished first. Wow he won most of the time. He loved beating my time. I won sometimes, I had to keep him honest. Then my older son wanted in on the action we had a lot of fun and laughs when it was over, we would talk about how ,I was this close. My older son played well and let his brother catch up if he was falling behind. Have fun with it good luck. Then when the game gets a little old check mark the winner each day and work on a reward for Friday night.

1 mom found this helpful

OOOOOO--have you been spying on bedtime at our house? It sounds the same! Here's a couple of things that have helped us with our 7 and 5 year old...now mind you, I do think things like this only work for a time and sometimes need to be changed up. First, we used a cute "Time for Bed" chart. I went to DLTK and searched chore charts and then made my own. On the list of chores we have put on pj's, night time snack, pick up living room, pick up family room, brush teeth, wash face, drink, use bathroom, stay in bed, be happy (for when they get all whiney). If they get a certain number of checks per week for completeing their tssks they can rent a video on Friday. We cut them some slack and don't require ALL things done every night. Also, our routine starts sooner than yours---we start them at about 7:00 or 7:15 for 7:50 story time. The next trick I've found is if they are watching tv we have them complete or work on a specific task during the commercials or the tv goes off. Never thought that would work but it is surprisingly effective. If they are watching a movie, I have "commercial breaks" that I put in about every 12 minutes. The timer was kind of a nightmare for us. Our kids would goof off until the timer rang and then start crying that they weren't done; or if we said when the timer rings you get 2 more minutes they would mess around and then run around like lunatics for 2 minutes and still end up crying.
The commercial chore thing seems to work because the kids can focus for a short time on one small task. The chart worked because it breaks everything down into little easy to handle tasks (and they like to get videos out). You will of course need to find something your kid likes to make this work--maybe an extra 10 minutes a day of computer or whatever he enjoys. I really think telling our girls to "get ready for bed--make sure you do this this and this" is too much at once---by breaking it down into small tasks they can stay focused and be successful.
We still find we need to "prod" our kids at times--but I find that's usually when we're not using a "helping techniques" . Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


I have a three year old son that I have been working on with listening. When he is lolly gaggling around I let him know that he is going to miss out on playing with his friends, watching tV, or having a sotry read to him. These activities vary depending on the time. Then I make sure to follow through. That is the most difficult part for me but I make sure I do what I say. I have also noticed since having a second child who is 9 months I have to start getting us all ready at least an hour before I go anywhere. That means I have to be completely ready to fo go an hour before I get my kids ready. Then we are able to make it our the door on time. It is crazy how much time everything takes with two children under the age of four.

Maybe set up some rewards for him for when he does follow thorugh and get something done in a timely manner. Better yet make the things he is already doing after he completes a task privledges for completing a task in a timley manner.

I hope my thoughts help some. I am sure you may have already thought of this but this is what came to my mind when thinking of my son who has a difficult time following directions. Every child is so different.

I also raise my voice out of frustration and recently began telling my son that is once, twice and if I get to three he goes to time out for not listening and doing what he should be doing. This has been very helpful as I am finding I don't raise my voice as much. He is usually pretty responsive as he doesn't want time out.

Take Care,

Sounds more like he's testing you mommy. Tell him 1 time and that his playtime will be cut down everytime he doesn't listen. Kids need to do things "when you tell them" not when they want or you'll be heading for bigger problems when they hit the teen years. Happy Mothers Day

It sounds as tho your child is in control of you instead of vice-versa. As long as there are no consequences, it will con't to get worse. Your husband needs to be at your side in all of this. Together you stand, or divided you fall. Has there been a change in your household? He seems to be greatly distracted and otherwise focused. Parenting is not for cowards! Your child needs you to set boundaries, and wants them , believe it or not. Love and kind words cover a multitude of sins! Best of everything to you,stay strong!!!!
Prayerfully, J.

Does he have the same trouble at school? If so, at home, make eye contact and use 3 to 5 words to tell him what you want him to do - keep it simple and direct - then have him repeat what he heard. If this doesn't work, then see your doctor to check for allergies &/or hearing problems. Sometimes, fluid in the ear will distort what a child hears and you need to find the root cause. If none of this works, you might be dealing with ADHD in which case it will be noticed in school too. Hope this helps.

Every part of this sound like possible dyslexia. Try www.dyslexia.com and order from Overstock.com the books, The Gift of Dyslexia and/or The Gift of Learning, both by Ronal D. Davis. You only need to read the front parts and not the procedures. This may sound like magic but I have personally seen these methods work for over 7 people and the system of explanation is very clear and simple to understand. If you want to talk I am at ###-###-####. Most people do not know the new understanding that dyslexia affects hearing, listening, and behavior equally with reading. Good Luck.

Maybe he has ADHD. Did you have him tested?
And I don't believe in drugs either.

I saw a neat trick that a parent used the other day with teenagers when they were at the Botanic Gardens. She could not get them to listen, so she touched them on the shoulders, said, "look at me" while pointing to each of their eyes and then to her eyes.

It must be something that she uses all the time and boy did it work!

And I don't believe in hitting, punishing, threatening to take away privileges. That gets old. I believe in raising your children so that they learn skills that will serve them as adults. So that brings me to the best solution of all...

I have recommended this program all over this site because it is excellent. Get the DVD set where the whole family engages in learning together. I raised my children on it who now have their own children and it works. http://www.gordontraining.com/store/index.php?category_id=2
This is a long-term solution.


1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.