Let’s be honest…listening doesn’t always come easy. Most parents are great talkers and not-so-great listeners. The art of listening to your children is a skill worth learning because the return on your investment is massive. Don’t let yourself be a parent whose child says, “My parents never listen to me.” Here are ten little tips to help you hone your listening skills.
- When in a conversation with your child, don’t be afraid of silence…they will often fill the silence if you don’t.
- Avoid the temptation to interrupt and inject your thoughts or comments unless asked. You’d be surprised how often your child will ask for your input if you aren’t constantly giving it.
- When your child is talking to you…mute the TV, put down the cell phone etc.
- Make eye contact when your child is talking.
- Heading into a conversation with your child, remind yourself to “listen three times as much as I talk.”
- Ask open-ended questions. Instead of “Did you have a good day?” ask, “What was the best and worst part of your day today?”
- Listen between the lines…A good listener will often discover that there is more to the story than the story being told.
- You can’t listen if they don’t talk…so set the stage for conversation. Say things like, “I love hearing about your day at school.”, “I really enjoy the times we get to talk.”, “Every time we talk, I learn something new from you.” etc.
- Pay attention to their “window of conversation”…you’ll have much more to listen to if you get them talking when they like to talk. Check out this quick video! http://saddlebackparents.com/portfolio/window-of-conversation/
- Remember…EVERYTHING your child has to say is worth listening to!
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