Are you a good listener?
We live in busy times and can feel as though we’re expected to accomplish a great deal in one day, or even one hour. If we’re not multitasking, we can think we’re failing.
You can be having a bath, listening to an instructional Vlog, whilst sending a text, as your hair is marinating in the conditioner, whilst you have a cake baking in the oven and you’re rocking a baby chair over the side of the bath with your toe and clocking all the bottles at the side of the bath tub that you need to tidy, all at the same time and still feel as though you’re falling short of the mark!
When there is so much pressure to be 'doing', Is it any wonder that children are known to have said they don’t always feel they have their parents’ full attention?
Let’s revisit the art of listening so that we can develop a culture in our home where people pay attention to one another.
One of the greatest things you can do for your child is to really hear them. They will grow to feel secure, take in new information, enjoy people more, be more effective, be a better friend, partner, employee or boss.
If our children don't feel listened to they will 'act out' until they get our attention and then they'll stop trying because they know it's futile. They'll also be poor listeners themselves because it hasn't been modelled to them. One day, one of our children said to me, “Mummy, you’re doing that thing again.” Apparently, when I’m not really listening to what he’s saying, I murmur, “Is that right?” whilst I'm doing something else at the same time. Good to know.
You may meet fascinating people in your life. You might meet a world class athlete, a famous actor or the Queen and you’ll soon know what your best attention looks like. But if you want your child to believe they are important and interesting, all you have to do is listen well. Here are some tips.
Be in the moment. (Not thinking about dinner, or a conversation you had earlier.)
Have times when you don’t multitask.
Pull up a chair
or Get to their level and make eye contact
Practice holding back your opinion until it’s invited.
Use open ended questions (questions that don’t lead to a one word answer.)
What do you think he’ll do next?
What do you suppose made her say that?
Hunt the feeling
Are you sad about that?
How did that feel?
Approach the conversation with this thought:
I MIGHT LEARN SOMETHING HERE.
Why don’t we always listen?
It does take effort and energy to pay attention.
We’d rather talk.
We don’t have to pay attention
We get distracted
We’re waiting to speak
If you want make your children feel important, interesting and amazing.
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Photo: Jason Rosewell, London-Scout