Listening to your children – it sounds simple really doesn’t it? But with the mountain of chores, work and running around, etc that we have to do on a daily basis, taking time to listen to our children doesn’t always take top priority. There are also many times that we appear to be listening, when really we are thinking about what we are going to cook for dinner or other things that stop us from completely focussing. Listening, really listening, means putting the phone away, turning the tv off and fully concentrating on what your child is saying. I’m blessed to be surrounded by children each day, both in my work and at home and I completely understand why we don’t always do this as well as we could – because I’m guilty of it sometimes too. But somehow in our hectic schedules we need to put this at the top of the list and here are some of the reasons why:
- Because children need to feel like someone cares. If we don’t listen to them then they think that we are not interested in them or in what they have to say. This is so detrimental to their self esteem. They need to know that they are the most important thing in our world. Chores can wait.
- It helps them to solve problems. If they have an issue that is worrying them or a dilemma that they don’t know what to do about, you are able to help them work it out. This is also a great opportunity to teach them skills for problem solving on their own.
- It’s a perfect time to build bonds between you and them. Being approachable and listening effectively, helps you become closer because you are more comfortable about sharing news and spending time together.
- It helps you to learn more about your children. You have opened the communication channels and they are sharing things with you because of it. In turn you are learning so much more about them than if you had kept the communication channels closed. How wonderful!
- It teaches them communication skills. They are learning how to have a conversation and the important talking and listening skills that are imperative in life.
- They are able to come to you with problems because they know that you will listen. This is so very important because they definitely will not come to you with big issues if you haven’t listened to the small ones. All issues are important to children.
- In turn, the previous point helps to decrease the chances of developing anxiety and depression. As they say: ‘A problem shared is a problem halved!’ If children know that they can come to you and share absolutely anything, then they are more likely to work through their concerns with you. This is so important because some concerns can manifest into huge problems if they are not dealt with.
- And most importantly – it is a precious time for you and them.
Listening – Really listening – is actually a skill that people have to work on. It requires your full concentration and attention. In addition to all the benefits to children from your effective listening are the benefits to the adults! I love sitting down with children and having a wonderful conversation about whatever is on their mind at the time. It not only helps me to understand them better but reminds me of what it is to be a child. I love their enthusiasm and passion for life. You can’t help but become a better adult by listening to children as they have so much to teach us!
Happy Guiding and Listening
Darling Precious Children