Nanny 911: Learning to Listen to Your Children
Nobody likes to talk to someone who isn't listening to them—that goes for both kids and adults alike! So the first step in getting your kids to listen to you and take you seriously is to learn to be a better listener yourself. Learning how to listen establishes a true bond of trust. Kids who grow up knowing that their parents are actually hearing them out, without judging them, without yelling at them first, will grow up knowing that their parents respect them. And remember what we've said before: Respect is a two-way street!
Here are five tips to help you better listen to your children:
- Get on their level. Even if you have to sit or kneel down, make sure you're eye to eye with your child. Eye contact is especially important.
- Give your child his/her words. Toddlers especially have a hard time expressing themselves, which is what leads to tantrums. So whenever possible, complete their sentences or prompt them along. "You look really upset. Would you like to tell me why you're so upset?"
- Repeat what your child is saying. This shows them that you are absolutely listening. It will also give you time to gather your thoughts to say the right thing. The most important two words you can say is "I understand."
- Don't interrupt. Let your child finish what he's trying to say. Conversely, if you are talking, don't let your child interrupt. Simply say, "It's my turn to talk now. Please let me finish." Sometimes what helps young children learn to take turns talking is to introduce an object, like a spoon: Whoever has the spoon is talking now.
- Respond calmly. Speak in a low, calm voice. This tells your child that you are being serious without being upset.
Get more child behavior tips from the Nanny 911 Nannies!