How can I listen to my child?
We get frustrated when someone interrupts us when we speak, dont’ we? Or when the person we are communicating with is constantly on their phone. It’s normal to feel this way. We get annoyed but we move on. Now imagine your child experiencing the same. They are too young to just move on like us. Listening to them builds their sense of self, improves their emotional skills and instils confidence to speak their mind.
Here are some practical tips to improve your listening skills towards your child:
When your child is talking, listen to them wholeheartedly. Leave whatever you are doing aside and be interested in what they have to say. You can do this by giving eye contact and bending to their level.
Often parents finish a child’s sentence or question or remark with a mere yes or no. Try to pitch in and further the conversation. Then they imagine further and learn new ways to add on to a conversation. They feel valued and heard.
Make communication a routine
Communicating is a way of life. Be it at the dining table, in the park, while playing and so on. Your child must feel comfortabe to come to you to share their feelings and emotions as well.
Exert body language
Use body language to convey interest in what your child is saying. Nodding, smiling, being in the eye level while talking, maintaining eye contact, leaning forward, animated expressions are some ways you can express your interest in your child. Your child will also pick up the same example and reciprocate.
‘I understand’, ‘That is so wonderful’, ‘I am sorry’, ‘That is funny’, ‘That sounds bad’ – this helps building empathy in your child. Important to note that empathy doesn’t mean passing judgement. If you are not happy with what your child has done or said, make them understand this by explaining why.