The Art Of Listening To Children
Wouldn’t you agree that best friends are good listeners? I like hanging out with other ladies who want to hear my ideas and feelings. Great listeners are those who are not quick to give you advice unless asked. Good friends show empathy!!
Kids also want to be known through their words. They have stories to tell. Fears to express. Questions to ponder. Joys to show and tell. Most importantly they need a parent’s full attention during their most difficult moments.
I want to be the first person my kids come to when they are hurt. I want to be the one they call first with the good news.
I ask myself the following questions when I worry about my relationship with my kids.
Do my kids feel heard and seen?
Am I too busy to pay attention?
Am I too quick to solve their problems?
Do I show empathy?
Do I interrupt them before they are done?
At my house, we get busy and I confess I can say yes to all the above questions.
And somewhere along the line my family started yelling to be heard. This has created too much tension between us. I don’t like it.
My eight and six-year-old fight quite a bit. It’s easier for me to solve their problems, but it doesn’t teach them to communicate.
Now I take the time to listen and help them come up with their own ideas to solve their disagreements. It’s hard for them to listen to each other. They don’t have the patience to be still long enough to hear what the other person must say. It’s my job to set the example. I want our family to care about each other and to show interest in the other person’s feelings.
I’m more intentional about taking time to listen. My kids are talkers. They talk all day and it’s hard to focus on them all the time. So, I have set up special times throughout the day to give them my undivided attention.
Tea time in the afternoon is a great setting for conversation. I make time together more intentional by giving them my full attention at meals and bed time.
When everyone is yelling, I like to tell them,
“Rule of thumb kiddos – Listen like you like to be listened to. We all have something to say.”
I think I know my kids until they say something out of the blue that surprises the heck out of me. This helps me to see deeper into their hearts. I want to live my life knowing what they like, hate, and hope for.
A penny for a thought is my life song.
I want to know what kind of amazing things my son is creating in his head. I’m eager to show my daughter that my love for her is unconditional. I want her to feel safe enough with me to share her desires.
My favorite part of the day is when my kids ask me to come to their room for a talk. I love being connected to them and it does my heart good to know that they trust me. I feel blessed when they invite me into their world. For this helps me know how to encourage them.
I’m realizing that kids listen better when they feel heard. But don’t we all?