Doesn’t it seem like only in a perfect world will your kids ever actually listen to what you say?
Most days are you left feeling a little like Chris Rock in Rush Hour?
??Is this YOUR house most days? We can laugh ‘cuz it’s true,…???
Trust us! You’re not alone mama! Let’s explore some super simple tips to get your kids to actually listen so you can protect your sanity!
Plus, let’s face it – developing good listening skills will benefit your child in all areas of his life – at home, school, work, and in relationships.
Try these strategies to promote strong listening skills in your children and get your kids to actually listen
Listen to your children
One of the strongest ways that children learn is through modeling behaviors of their parents.
- When you demonstrate good listening skills in your everyday life in the presence of your kids, they will learn those skills, too. They can see how it’s done by watching you.
Stop doing whatever you’re doing
When you want to communicate with your child, stop doing whatever it is that you are doing and be fully present. Whether they initiate the conversation or you do, stop what you’re doing so you can concentrate on your interaction. In today’s busy world this can be really challenging to do but we guarantee the more you do it, the greater change you’ll see in your kid.
Make eye contact
In any type of communication, look in the eyes of the person you’re talking to and teach your children to do the same. This lets the other person know you care enough to really listen.
[bctt tweet=”A subtle and special connection is made when people make eye contact. You can start modeling this behavior to your children when they’re pretty young, even before the age of 2 years. ” username=””]
Say your child’s name
When you talk to your children, saying their name will help get their attention. It also sets them up to be ready to listen. Getting your child’s attention by stating his name is an effective way to prepare him to hear what you’re going to say. That focus is necessary to begin to develop listening skills. Good listening skills is one of the key foundations to making good choices. Read more about Helping Your Kids Make Good Choices.
Suggest to your child that they sit down
This suggestion sends the message, “Get ready to listen because I’m going to talk.”
When your child is very young, try leading him to a chair. Then say something like, “I’d like to talk to you for a minute,” which serves as an attention-getter. Once you complete what you wanted to express, be ready to listen to your child’s response.
Spot-check their listening skills
From time to time, ask your child what you just said. You’re trying to determine what your child heard by asking him to paraphrase what you said. When he repeats it properly, praise his efforts.
If he doesn’t get it quite right, you have an opportunity to repeat what you said for clarification and to enhance his listening skills.
Reinforce a child’s effort to listen
When your child shows the smallest attempt to listen, it’s a good idea to reinforce those efforts right away. Even with a 2-year-old, you can encourage their listening skills by saying, “Thank you for sitting so quietly while Mommy was talking,” or, “You were really listening to Daddy, thank you.” After a conversation, simple responses, such as smiling while you say, “Great job on listening,” also let your kids know they exhibited the important behavior you were seeking.
Promoting your child’s listening abilities is best done in small ways every single day. It can seem exhausting at first, but as a parent, you’re the best role model for teaching your children communication skills. Be the change you want to see in them. Reward their efforts with smiles and positive comments, and you’re on your way to building their listening skills for a successful future.