Listening Skills

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Child Development
Communication

Listening Skills

  1. Sit up
  2. Look interested
  3. Lean forward
  4. Listen
  5. Act interested
  6. Nod your head to show you are tuned in
  7. Track the speaker with your eyes

Listen By Invitation

Open the doors of communication by asking questions such as "Would you like to tell me more about your day?" or "Shall we talk about it?" In this case, we listen without interjecting. We let the speaker know we are listening by stating an occasional "uh-huh" or "I see." When the speaker realizes that you are willing to listen without interrupting, correcting or judging they will be more willing to share their thoughts and feelings and less likely to keep secrets from you. Once you have opened the door to communication the child has a choice to talk or not. Don't push it. The point is to let the child know that you are there for them when they are ready to talk.

Children, teens included, often phrase their feelings in the form of action statements, (statements that point to a particular problem that appears to need fixing ie. "My teacher hates me." They rarely need the parent to help them solve the problem. Generally, they are looking for a listening ear, someone they can sound off too while they figure out the solution themselves. It is very easy for us as parents to step in and offer solutions but it is neither helpful nor productive to do so. When we allow our children to figure out their own solutions we are teaching them that we have confidence in their ability to do so. We are also telling them that we care, that we are there for them, but we don't expect them to depend on us to solve their problems. This creates self-confidence and self esteem in the child as they experiences successes in problem solving.

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