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22 Ways to Really Listen to Your Children

By Sharon Jaynes



  1. Be patient.
  2. Don't complete their sentences.
  3. Let them finish, even if it seems they are rambling.
  4. Don't interrupt.
  5. Face your child and make eye contact.
  6. Lean forward, if you're seated, to show you're interested.
  7. Take advantage of passive moments such as watching a video, listening to music, or sitting on the edge of their bed when tucking them in at night.
  8. Take your children along on errands.
  9. Ask good questions but avoid the word "why."
  10. Ask their opinion about something that happened to you.
  11. Don't jump to conclusions.
  12. Don't change the subject. Make verbal responses such as "I see," "Really," "Uh-huh," to show that you're paying attention.
  13. Avoid telling them not to feel a certain way. ("Don't worry about it." Don't cry.")
  14. Turn off the TV.
  15. Put down the mop, newspaper, or dishtowel.
  16. Encourage them to tell you more. "What else did he say?" "What did he do next?"
  17. When they are telling of a struggle, rephrase and repeat what you heard. "What I hear you saying is that you feel I'm being unfair by not letting you go to the concert on a school night."
  18. Don't always point out grammar mistakes but listen for the point of the story.
  19. Let the phone ring if your child is in the middle of telling you about an event in his life.
  20. Anytime your child starts to talk or ask a question, consider it an invitation to which you should RSVP.
  21. Don't glance at your watch while they are talking.
  22. God gave you two ears and one mouth for a good reason. Listen twice as much as you talk! 

Printed with permission from Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids by Sharon Jaynes.

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