10 missing pieces in the puzzle called Listening
Listening in Kids
Listening is one of the most important social skill that you can teach your child. This will enable her to build a strong foundation for healthy relationships, friendships and support network for life. However, it’s easier said than done. Here is a list of few things that can help you imbibe the listening skill in your children.
Grab their attention
Children are fully involved in what they are doing. Unlike us adults they are not good at Multi-tasking. So if you want to be heard grab their attention first. Do not start speaking before you have their eyes and ears to you. By doing so, you are bringing yourself to the fore front and getting into the dialogue mode with your little one. Kids will be ready to listen to what you have to say now.
Connect and then request
For your children you are the world. They always look for an opportunity to connect with you. How about making them feel special the same way. Before making a request or asking for a chore to be done, just get into their world for a moment and connect with them.
So like when my little one is busy playing with his cars , I watch him play for a couple of minutes and then catch hold of car named The Talkative car and say Listen Listen The Talkative Car has an announcement to make. It’s new, it’s creative it’s fun and we all laugh and listen. This makes my instructions fun to hear and follow.
Say it with A WORD
Children know most of the times what they are supposed to do. They just need a small reminder which can be just a single word. So avoid nagging and all those preachy lectures, use small phrases or single words to give them a clue. And they will act.
For example after they finish their meals just a single word like plates will help them put their plates back to the kitchen
State your expectations specifically
The easiest way to getting heard is by clearly stating what you want. Which means not speaking what you don’t want. Using a positive undertone and positive words is the key to better listening by kids.
For example I want you to be gentle while playing with your little sister or Lets take turns and this way we all can play together and have fun.
Listen, understand and Empathize:
Communicating with the children more often than not is about understanding them and helping them make sense of it all. Sometimes children are struggling to understand their own feelings. Listening to them and accepting their feelings as normal is what defines our responsibility as parents in those times.
For example when your child is defying you, just leave your stuff for a while and talk to her about how she is feeling. Acknowledge and approve of her feelings by saying that I understand how it feels when your friend says that to you and giving her a hug would help sort out the feelings in the kids heart.
Involve kids in making rules for themselves and doing chores as a team. “We” is always better idea to listen to than a “you’ while giving instructions.
Be a fun to be with parent
Sometimes just breaking the monotony does the trick. It’s always great to be playful and have some fun element in the day to day chores.
Try cracking little jokes in between conversations like I just call my daughter Miss slippery feet coz she keeps falling so often, sometimes the tickle monster comes and attacks my little ones’ feet. This suddenly makes the whole environment funny and full of giggles. And listening becomes a lot more fun.
Choose your battles
Please don’t overdo instructions. Choose your battles wisely. Prioritize and be reasonable in asking or requesting the children. A good way is to decide responsibilities in between you and your partner. This gives an opportunity to handle a variety of instruction styles and individuals.
Children are just playing their age
The baseline remains that children are not intentionally defying you but playing their age. It’s a natural part of growing up when children are identifying their potential, understanding themselves and their limits. So its ok to let them be sometimes.
Reasoning gets little or no results
Children start understanding logic, connecting multiple things, anticipating consequences after they turn 5 years of age. Prior to this age, logic reaps no consequences. For an older child, reasoning and logic gets you to invite an exhaustive debate which leads to losing your calm and finally little or no consequence at all. Hence stay as away as possible from reasoning with little ones. This is an age to instruct and get the right habits instilled.
Please share in comments your own tips on how you make your kids listen up to you.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net