Listening is the most essential skill which we as a parent have to learn. Every person needs to be heard, be it a small baby, a toddler, or an adult. To an extent, everyone can make out if they are just heard or actually listened to. Babies and kids especially have this amazing power to easily know if they are carefully listened to or not. So we, as parents, have to be quite cautious when we talk to our children.
There is a lot of difference between hearing and listening. Hearing requires less attention whereas listening needs more patience and understanding. It is always suggested that we spend at least 15 minutes of quality time with our children and in these 15 minutes, it is very much necessary for us to really listen to them. We need to cultivate this habit of speaking to our children and communicate our daily activities to them and encourage them to do the same (meaningful ones, mostly). By doing this, we indirectly encourage the quality of communicating with them and can get slowly connect with them, and also their ideas and activities as they grow. When we do our part in listening to our kids, it also becomes easier to handle them as they listen to us better, because they are learning from us.
I believe that this active listening, in one way or the other, shapes up a child’s personality. Imagine if you are watching a TV show or are engrossed in your mobile phone when your child is talking to you and you pretend that you are listening to them. Kids of this generation are very smart; they somehow decode this as – “We need to pretend when we do not want to listen.” This can go on in their classes as well which can be dangerous. Another scenario you can imagine is when a child is talking to his dad about his preschool with a lot of excitement and his daddy tries to cut him short – how do you think the kid would feel? He will get the feeling that he is being ignored and tend to indulge in negative behaviour as that is the easiest way to draw attention, which eventually will become a habit. Therefore, active listening is a simple tool for every child’s future. All the best, parents!
‘Practice what you preach’ – if we listen to them, they will listen to us!
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