Teach Your Kids To Be Good Listeners

Listening is a valuable skill. The latest studies reveal that listening is a very large part of school learning and is one of our primary means of interacting with other people on a personal basis. It is estimated that between 50 and 75 percent of students’ classroom time is spent listening to the teacher, or other students, or to audio media.

Parents set a powerful example of good or poor communication. Parents who listen to their children with interest, intention and patience set a good example. The child who is able to listen picks things up and learns quicker than others. In class the child who does not listen gets things wrong, makes silly mistakes, and often falls behind.

So, how can we as parents help our children to become good listeners? Here are a few pointers.

. Cut out the ‘noise’ in your home. By ‘noise’ I mean all the distractions that may be, and often are, present in many homes – TV, computers, music. Such noise only serves to hinder good communication.
. Teach your child to maintain eye contact when talking or listening to you.
. Before speaking to him, make sure you make eye contact, and that he is calm and focussed upon you.
. Keep your communication clear, not garbled, so you can be easily understood. A parent who gives out mixed, often conflicting messages, causes confusion which may prompt the child to ‘switch off’ because it takes too much effort to try to understand.
. When you tell your child to do something, ask him to repeat your instructions.
. Regularly read out loud to your child and then talk with him in a conversation about what you have read.

Remember, communication is the most significant part of human interaction, and
people who are good listeners are able to discern and take in everything around them.
People who are good listeners are often good at building rapport with others, a
valuable skill for success, both in relationships and in careers. It’s amazing how
many people do not really listen when we are speaking to them, but it’s clear to us
when somebody is making the effort to listen – and these people stand out from the
rest. So let’s give our children a head-start, and help them to develop a valuable skill.