As new parent, I think it is normal that we get frustrated when our kids don't listen to us. Most of the parent will start talking to the child nicely but after we repeat ourself for a several times and they still won't listen, we will be annoyed and start yelling at the children and follow by punishment. This will make the situation worst as the toddlers may think that they only need to listen when you are mad and they won't listen at you for the first time anymore! Being said that, how to get them to listen at the first time? There are several ways mention by the expert and here are the summary of what i think it is most useful tips. We can try practicing it and modify along the way to suit your own style of teaching your children.
The first most important thing to take note at is the eye contact with your child when you want to talk to them. Connecting with the kids before you start direct by getting on the floor and looking them straight in the eye and adress them by their name. By doing so, you will have their full attention and they will hear what you are saying. Many parents including me make a mistake by yelling them eg. from the kitchen while the child is at the living room. How effective that could be is really questionable :)
Next, be clear, short and simple in the message you want to pass down to your kids. Children don't have long attention span. Put the main directive in the opening sentence. The longer you ramble, the more likely your child is to become parent-deaf. For example, you may just say "Billy, don't play with that thing, it is not your toys!" rather than explaining long reason why he can't touch that thing as it is dangerous and may cause fire, etc.
I found it very useful when kids are given choices or offer that they can't refused. For example, "When you get your teeth brushed, we'll then begin the story-telling session." This will offer the kids a reason for your request that is to the child's advantage or liking and at the same time they will do as per what you want them to. You may also give them a heads up when there is going to be a change in activity. For example if its almost time for bed you need to tell them. "Time for bed in 5 minutes" and a couple of minutes later tell them again that its almost time to pack up. Then do it. If you just rip them away from what they are happily doing then they are not going to be happy resulting in tantrums and crying. Make sure you strictly follow through as per what you said. When you said 5 minutes, you should really follow it and don't drag another 5 minutes.
Last but not least is to set a good example to your children. Kids are like copy machine, they copy what they see or hear. So, show them how to listen by listening to them and others around you. Also if you don't like the kids to yell and scream, you yourself must not yell at them or poeple around you. Else you will be regret to hear them say "mommy, you also yelling at me, why can't I?"
Anyway, I found that sometimes children won't listen no matter what strategies or skills you use. These are time where they are in a bad mood, especially if they are not having enough sleep. At this time, you may use your own judgement to either close on eye or remove them from what they are doing. Switch their attention to their favorite activity such as bringing them out for a walk. Or you may put them to sleep.
p/s: I wrote this topic due to a request from my good friend and I hope she will find these tips helpful :)