How to listen to your child

I’m just finishing off the last email for the day when my little one comes up next to me and starts telling me about how the pony in the story she is reading is hurt. My first urge is to tell her, “Can we talk about it after a while? I just need to finish this email.” But, on second thoughts, in half an hour she has forgotten all about the pony. And the pony is as important to her as my email is to me!

It’s not easy being a parent, spouse, homemaker, and all the other relationships that we all juggle. But I believe that listening to our kids and giving them some time in a day, is necessary.

I try to be there to listen when he wants to talk. Yes, I actually set aside my work at hand, and give her those few minutes. Sometimes it’s hard but I do my best. I tell him that I am working and that I am going to set it aside to talk to him as it is important. He realises that he is important to me. And that’s exactly the message I convey.

Be involved in the conversation. I try to quiet my mind and pay complete attention to what my son is saying. I ask questions when he narrates his stories. ‘So what did your friend say about your drawing?’ ‘Did you like her drawing?’

Empathise, and don’t react. Go with what your child feels. When my child has had a difficult day and is trying to keep up, I listen attentively and empathise. “It must have felt foolish to have missed an easy goal. I can see you’re upset!”

Ask what they want you to do while listening. “Do you want me to give you my suggestion? Or do you want to just tell me what’s on your mind and then take the decision yourself?” T

Ask permission to go back to your chores. When you feel the conversation is sort of done or finishing, ask her permission to get back to what you were doing. ‘Now that we have spoken about what you have don’t today, would you mind if I went back to work for the next 30 minutes?’ This tells him that your work is equally important and that you have prioritized him over the job.

Do you have more ideas about what you do while listening? Send them to us!