Are you a good listener?
Are your children good listeners?
How are your family’s conversation skills?
You’ve heard the old adage, “With two ears and one mouth, listen twice as often as you speak.” Listening is a gift we give others. Here are three “listening busters” and solutions to help families improve communication by being better listeners.
The number one reason listening is difficult is distraction, more specifically, smartphones. If you are not on call for work, put your cell phone away when your spouse and children are present. The temptation to check text messages, email, and social media is great. Out of sight is out of mind and the focus can be on the family.
Another reason listening difficult is our habit of multitasking. Juggling conversations and tasks is difficult. Nothing can squelch a conversation as quickly as not paying attention to the person in which we are speaking.
A third “listening buster” is apathy. We get tired of hearing the same stories from our children. Asking questions is a helpful way to dig deeper into a topic. Link to the post 7 Reasons to Ask Your Child Good Questions to better understand why conversing with children is a learning tool, both for the parent and the child.
Tips to being a good listener!
1. Make good eye contact with the speaker.
2. Ask questions pertaining to the topic.
3. Use non-verbal communication (head nod, smile, etc.) to further acknowledge the speaker’s words.
4. Repeat thoughts back with empathy so the speaker knows you are listening to the details.
Teaching children to have a good conversation takes time and effort. When you talk, expect your child to listen. Both talking and listening are skills to be practiced by the whole family.
“…let the wise listen and add to their learning.”
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