As a parent of young children you probably find one of the biggest parenting challenges is to get your child to listen. Often you probably ask yourself: “If only my child would listen more!” This is a comment that parents of all ages and all cultural backgrounds are saying every day. The ability to teach your children to listen both in the home and outside of the home is truly the hallmark of successful parenting. If your kids will listen to you for a large portion of the time, then your future years of parenting will be much easier, for both you and your kids.
One of the best ways to raise children who are good listeners is to model good listening skills. Be a role model. Live a life of good communication between you and your spouse. When two parents are really listening to each as a way of life, not only with that relationship improve, but it will show the children the value and importance of paying attention.
Besides having our children listen to the parents and teachers better in order to show more respect, what other reason is there for becoming a better listener?
One very important result of being a good listener is that the person avoids coming to false conclusions. You can start your child off at an early age to avoid this communication pitfall. Sometimes not listening and not paying close attention to other people can result in hearing only a portion of what the people are actually saying.
This leads to faulty conclusions and irritating conflicts that could of been avoided had the person listened more closely. By getting your young children to become better listeners, these kinds of situations will be minimal as the become adults and are communicating in a social setting with other people.
Listening games are a great way to start teaching your young ones how to listen. For example, there is one game that will help teach your child to listen that is called “Silly Skits” where you create skits on paper and have your child create their own as well.
Each skit will have a picture of two people or two animals “conversing” with each other. Simply point to one of the characters and tell your child what they are doing. Then move on to the next one. Afterwards you can ask him what each was doing. Your child will have had to remember what you said each time about the character’s “conversation”.
This will help improve your child’s listening skills as the skits get longer and longer. Try little games like this in your spare time. Not only will this help your child’s listening skills grow, at the same time you are implementing quality time between parent and child.
Another idea for a listening game my son and I play is that we sit quietly and close our eyes. We then rotate and ask each other what we hear. The person who hears the most things wins. This is a fun game and and builds concentration, listening skills and adds a little bit of competition to the process.
On other idea is to vary the tone of your voice, if your child is always used to you speaking in a certain tone try speaking quietly in a more subdued voice. Varying your tone of voice and speaking more quietly may help as your child will instictively want to know what you are saying.
Sometimes another technique I use is just gently touching my son, or putting my hand over his heart and gently talking to him, this can sometimes help calm a child when they are a bit wild and help let your child know what you are saying is important.
Be a role model. Don’t forget your child learns by example and if they see that you don’t listen they probably are just following in your footsteps. It is important to look at your own behaviors and make sure you are teaching them how to listen by showing them how to listen yourself. I am sometimes guilty of this and am constantly working at making myself a better role model for my children.
While there is no magic ‘answer’ to make your child listen, there are many things you can do to help build your childs listening skills. Yelling may only be a temporary answer, working with your child to help build their listening skills will be a worthwhile investment, not only now, but in the future.