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Listening Tips for Parents and Kids


“Why don’t you listen to me?”

It’s a lament that’s often heard from children and their parents. Effective communication helps kids and parents develop confidence, self-esteem, and achieve good relationships with other people. Here are some tips from Oxford Learning on getting everyone in your family to listen:

  • Teach your child to listen. Gently touch your child before you talk to him or her and say his or her name.
  • Speak in a quiet tone of voice, even whisper so your child has to work a little to listen.
  • Look directly at your child when you speak, watching his or her eyes so you can tell that he or she understands. If your child is little, bend or sit down and get down to your child’s size.
  • Practice listening and conversing. Discuss with your family what you see on TV, hear on the radio or see at the park or store. Speak with your kids about their school and friends.
  • Respect your child and use a courteous tone of voice. If you speak to your child as you would a friend, he or she may be more likely to seek you out as a confidant.
  • Catch your child being good and praise him or her for cooperating with you or siblings, for being courteous, for doing chores or completing homework unprompted, or for doing other little things that you might be tempted to take for granted. Praise will help build your child’s confidence and reinforce communication. Unkind words can tear down your child, teaching him or her that he or she just isn’t good enough.
  • Use conversation starters that invite your child to say more about an incident or his or her feelings. Say things such as “Tell me more,” “No kidding,” or “Really!”
  • Say “I love you.” Your children will never be too old to be told that he or she is loved.
  • When your child wants to talk to you, give him or her your undivided attention. Don’t read, watch TV, fall asleep or busy yourself with other tasks. Likewise, when you want to speak with your child, demand the same courtesy by asking that he or she stop whatever else he or she might be doing and listen to you.

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