Listen and Learn!

Eye contactTip 79 Listen to your child the way you would like your child to listen to you.

Here is how “listen” is defined in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (p.1049). “To make an effort to hear something.”

According to current teachings, the following tips form the basics for excellent parent-child communication. They actually come to us from the world of business where interpersonal communication is highly valued as an important key to success.

What is good about these is that they are catching. Once you use them enough with your child, your child will comfortably and naturally use them with you, peers, and others.

  • Look directly into your child’s left eye as he or she talks. That gives you a stronger point of focus as you try to understand what he or she is saying.
  • Be on the same level as your child.
  • Be as much as you can in the same position as your child.

Once you are set, here is the best part. Speak for 30% of the time and listen for 70%. To aid in this process there are words of communication that can encourage your child to talk. “Oh, uh huh, good, then” and “Tell me more about…” There are also open-ended questions like these that work. “How did you do that? Why did that happen?” and “What was that like?”

Parenting Insight…

Look at the letters in these two words LISTEN and SILENT. Yes, they are the same. It is interesting to ponder the relationship of these two actions.

  • You are silent when you listen.
  • You communicate through silence as well as through words.

*Adapted from Make Your Own Preschool Games: A Personalized Play and Learn Program by Sally Goldberg, pp. 183-184

August! The Month of Dignity

Here is a subtle nuance for this month–learning from silence, something you do not hear. What is your child not talking about anymore? With your new listening skills go ahead and pursue what has been happening at school, in the park, or when playing outside. Maybe there is a favorite friend no longer being mentioned. Use your new listening skills in your own dignified way to communicate and find out.

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  1. Love this ,great post , especially listen and silent:) Thats what kids need.
    Thats why I called my book Listen To MePlease!
    I realize something over the years, that parents /folks who talk too much or dont listen well don’t always know they are talking too much.
    I visited someone recently I really like but they talked non stop all day, I thought I would shoot myself ,imagine how their kids feel????

    So I suggest if you’re having some problems with your child’s behavior or they are very anxious videotape yourself for an hour or two just leave the the camera on or just the voice memo and you’ll realize what you can do differently. It is an eye opener to video tape oneself:)

  2. Hi Ava,

    It is wonderful to hear from you. When I wrote this post I was hoping you would see it… and you did. The listening to kids skills you teach to parents are uniquely insightful. You are one of the few people who help parents tune into that part of their parenting.

    So glad you mentioned videotaping in that non-invasive but very helpful way. Great idea! I thought you might like that “SILENT” and “LISTEN” connection, and I am glad you did.

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