As a parent, becoming a better listener is a matter of adequate upbringing. Becoming a better listener teaches your children how to communicate with others in a meaningful way. Building a healthy personality is a matter of communication for humans.
When you listen to your children, they become more emotionally mature, communicate better, and have confidence. When children are often ignored and feel as if they’re not listened to, they become distanced and quiet.
If you don’t want to make mistakes with your children, you have to maintain a healthy stance toward communication. Fostering active listening (and overall becoming a better listener) is very healthy for the psychological development of your little babies.
So, how to become a better listener?
Knowing that most people have an attention span of only 8 seconds, what are the things that you can easily do to become a better listener with your kids?
1. Maintain Eye Contact
To become a better listener you have to pay attention to the person you’re chatting with. If you’re using your phone or focusing on looking at something else other than your little child gives them the impression that you’re not listening.
Even if you’re listening, not maintaining eye contact with your child is a sign of indifference. No matter what your child is saying, keeping eye contact while listening is more about love and care than it’s about the topic of the conversation.
2. Listen to More & Talk Less
Interrupting your child while talking is obviously an annoying thing to do! Don’t you hate it when you’re constantly interrupted by someone? Of course, you do.
People who interrupt you can drive you mad sometimes; the same sentiments are shared by your children when you constantly interrupt them.
As a parent you have to understand that your children have a need to talk; that’s why they do it a lot. If you don’t give them enough time to express themselves, it might not be a healthy thing.
3. Mind Your Body Language
Body language is a universal language that even little babies can understand. Children are very keen on noticing body language signs even though they cannot articulate that very well.
When listening to your child, make sure your body language reflects safety and comfort. You have to be careful about your facial expressions because they are the primary way to communicate emotions.
When having a conversation, lean toward your child and try to imitate their facial expressions.
4. Listen attentively
You have to remember that you’re listening to get something from your child. You’re not just hearing your child speak and that’s it.
As a parent, you can’t fake interest in what you’re babies share with you. Sooner or later, children realize that you don’t care, so why bother and tell you.
Therefore, you should keep your focus on the main idea of what your child is talking about, what is the moral of the story, or what is the message.
5. Repeat what you Believe are the Important Points
One of the best ways to ensure someone that you’re being honestly listening to them is by restating what they’ve said after they finish or repeating the important points.
Children have a mind that is more oriented to details, which makes their stories quite fascinating if you ask me. However, the narrative might not be as good as the details.
By helping your baby summarize the points in a manner that makes a lot of sense, you show them that you’re being a good listener.
6. Ask Questions Occasionally
Asking direct questions while listening to someone, demanding more explanation or details is a cool way of opening the conversations to more horizons.
Asking a simple question as “what happened next?” can mean a lot to your baby. It means, for example, that you’re interested and engaged. You can see it on your baby’s face: how their eyes open when they figure out you’re interested in what they’re saying.
7. Be Open-minded and Tolerant
Listening with an open mind means a lot to the person talking, especially your baby. Your child finds it quite hurtful to be judged by you for something bad they did.
If your child has told you a dirty secret, you should make sure not to make them feel bad about it. As a parent, you should understand that it’s hard to maintain an open mind with your child, especially if it’s about something you disapprove of. However, you should know that listening without judgment is like a skill that you can acquire.
Many times parents feel like they are unable to give their children their full attention. It can be exhausting sometimes to keep up with your child.
By becoming a better listener, you’re actually a better parent. So, make sure you do that at least as a parent.