Here’s my daily ad for Best Family Photographer in Dallas. It’s all about selective hearing. If you have a kid, you know exactly what I am talking about.

Toddlers enjoy a world where selective hearing keeps them blissfully unaware of most of the things that parents want them to hear. I recently read that one of the reasons that children around the age of 3 are so difficult to manage is that they do, in fact, have the ability to follow directions but that this ability is limited to one command at a time. So, for example, if you tell a 3 year old, “Please take this into your room and put it away,” they may take it into their room but beyond that is where the communication will break down completely. You see, they stopped listening after the word, “room” and the rest of your sentence became, “blah blah blah.”

You also cannot communicate to a 3 year old in generalities. If you say, “Be good,” you will most likely get a blank stare in return. That means nothing to a toddler. Instead, you should be specific and tell them the behavior you want to see and the behavior that you don’t want to see. For example, “Do not shove plastic dinosaurs in your brother’s nose,” and “Please keep your pants on,” are both directives heard regularly in my house. Along with, “It’s 10:00 at night, time to stop screaming,” or “Please stop licking things you found on the floor.”

Yes, I live in the zoo, thanks for asking.