Active Listening

10 Ways to Improve Listening in the Home

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.

  1. Do I listen? Ask yourself firstly what type of listener you are. Are you focused or distracted? Empathetic or impatient?
  2. Stop shouting: Children do not respond positively to shouting so try always to speak in a calm manner.
  3. Eye contact: When talking to your child, get down to their level and look them in the eye.
  4. Be clear: Do your children understand what you are saying to them? Clarify if needed.
  5. 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.
  6. Reward: Notice good listening and reward it.
  7. Remember: Put a note up somewhere, like on the fridge, to remind you as a parent to listen.
  8. 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.
  9. 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).
  10. 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.

Active Listening

10 ways to Active Listening and Assertive Parenting

Active ListeningActive Listening is an important part of being an assertive parent. It allows children to express their emotions and shows your child that you are taking on board  what they are saying and making an effort to understand how they are feeling about what is going on in their lives.

  1. A child who is allowed time to think for themselves learns to have faith in their own problem solving abilities.

  2. Parents who use active listening teach their children that they are valuable individuals who, given time, can work through and find solutions to the many challenges they may face in life.
  3. Our aim as parents is to be assertive in how we communicate and relate to our children.
  4. Assertiveness is a skill that is learned over time. Through patience and persistence it can transform the relationship between parents and their children.
  5. The world can be a difficult and complicated place for children.
  6. Active listening is the key to good communication.
  7. Listen for feelings and try to put a name on that feeling.
  8. Let your child clarify what feelings they are experiencing or correct you if you have got the feeling wrong.
  9. Being self-aware is crucial to successful anger management. Ask yourself, ‘What is the trigger for this anger I feel?’
  10. You can control your own behaviour and this will model anger management for your child, but you cannot control your child’s behaviour.

This article is part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly. Coming up Next Week: 10 ways to Handling Difficult Behaviour – Part 1.

LIVE Facebook Q&A on this topic with Geraldine, 9 February from 11am-12pm on One Family’s Facebook pageJoin in and post your questions.

Next you might like to read 10 ways to Improve your child’s Self Esteem, 10 ways to Be Assertive or 10 ways to Improve Listening in the Home

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email