Listening lays the base for the vocabulary bank of a child. It is through the pathway of the ears that a child remembers and recalls words from memory to be able to make sense of what needs to be acted upon.
Listening as a process requires receiving inputs, attending to the input, understanding the call to act, responding to what needs to be done or not to be done and finally remembering to take the action.
It’s a Good Idea to Listen!
A greedy communicator “takes inputs” instead of “talks” or adds to a conversation. The main difference between taking and talking is one little ‘l.’ That ‘l’ stands for “listening.” To talk to children, you need to pay attention and listen. When a parent needs updates on the day’s schedule and events from the child, they need to receive the information and also remember to act upon it if requested by the child. Example: When a child casually hints at not wanting to attend school because another child is threatening their freedom, a parent must understand that the child is asking for help. They should ensure that they visit the school and discuss the matter with the teacher.
A child may not have expressed this but as adults we must respond to a child’s need for him or her to feel safe.
Listening carefully is how you gather information about what’s going on in your child’s head and life. Listening helps you to:
- Build strong relationships.
- Show respect by being thoughtful.
- Solve problems by being understanding and reasonable.
Listening to your child’s perspective will teach you a lot. Young children are smarter than most grown-ups think they are, and they generally know what they need.
A child who is listened to learns how to listen.
Create a special time and place for listening to your child. Sometimes just before retiring to bed is a good time, as this is when the guards are all down and children are going through their day and reflecting.
Use active listening by paying attention and being understanding towards both complaints and excitement. While working on any of the Skillmatics products your child will enjoy listening to the instructions, try to understand the plan of action to be taken and make informed choices to solve the activities.
Listen first, and listen well, and only then react. It’s hard for a child to wait until an opportune time to raise an important issue or disclose some vital information. Sometimes a child will fret over telling you something important—and let it slip out just at the moment you are least expecting it. Perhaps you’re on your way out the door to a board meeting, or making a left-hand turn at the most dangerous intersection in town, or checking that the cake hasn’t fallen. Trust us, when you’re least prepared is when the most vital information will slip from your child’s little lips like a sigh.
Carpe diem—seize the day! Keep a constant low-level awareness, a sense of priorities. When your child is anxious about an incident or project in class or when they want to grab your attention about something disturbing them-Perhaps you can rearrange your morning and listen (Can you call in sick? Cancel the meeting with the carpenter? Get somebody else to pick up for the carpool?)
If you listen to your children carefully they will teach you how to raise them.