Listening is not the same as hearing. To listen means to pay attention not just to what is being said but how it is being said, including paying attention to the types of words used, the tone of voice and body language. The key to understanding is effective listening. For this week’s ’10 Ways to …’ post offering parenting tips, we look at how to improve listening in the home.
- Do I listen? Ask yourself firstly what type of listener you are. Are you focused or distracted? Empathetic or impatient?
- Stop shouting: Children do not respond positively to shouting so try always to speak in a calm manner.
- Eye contact: When talking to your child, get down to their level and look them in the eye.
- Be clear: Do your children understand what you are saying to them? Clarify if needed.
- Family meetings: Talk as a family about what not listening to each other causes within the family – ask if everyone would like things to be better.
- Reward: Notice good listening and reward it.
- Remember: Put a note up somewhere, like on the fridge, to remind you as a parent to listen.
- Make time: Make time – at meals, when children come in from school, when parents come in from work – to talk with each other and listen to what others have to say.
- Active listening: Practice actively listening to what your children say. Down tools and stop what you’re doing to listen, or ask them to wait until you can give them 100% of your attention (but not too long).
- Building relationships: Listening to your child and other family members increases positive behaviour in the home and improves relationships.
This week’s ’10 Ways to …’ is compiled by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.
Remember, if you need a friendly ‘listening ear’, our askonefamily lo-call helpline is available on 1890 662 212.