The art of listening - why hearing what your child has to say really matters.

As a parent, it’s important to listen to your child. Feeling listened to has a really positive impact on a child’s early development, self esteem and social skills. Not to mention the fact that it lets them know that they’ve got someone they can trust.

In this week’s blog, we’re taking a deeper look into why hearing what your child has to say really matters.

It encourages your child to listen in return.

A child will often see their parents as role models. If parents pay attention to what their child has to say, they’re much more likely to do the same in return. That’s because listening is a reciprocal activity. Telling children to listen without demonstrating that skill to them isn’t going to get you anywhere, it’s vital to lead by example.

Learning to listen to others will also help children to understand other points of view. They’ll be more willing to consider other perspectives if they know that their own perspective is being valued as well.

It makes your child feel valued.

Knowing that someone cares about what they have to say can really help to build a child’s self-esteem.

It will give them the confidence to speak up more, and share their views and opinions with other people. This can do wonders for social skills like conversation, public speaking and having the confidence to stand up for themselves and how they’re feeling.

It forms a stronger parent-child bond.

The bond of trust between a parent and child is really something to cherish. If a child feels listened to, that bond is strengthened. Knowing that their parents care about what they have to say will let them know that they’re loved and cared about too.

It’s always good to make time to have the conversations that matter to your children. Whether that’s hearing them tell you about their day, or that they’re feeling sad and worried about something.

What makes a good listener?

Now you know why listening matters, let’s take a look at what makes a good listener.

Build in specific time to talk

Saving some time each day or week to talk to your child will help to make those conversations a priority. Making it part of your routine will help to ensure you’re consistently having productive chats with your child, and give the both of you plenty of opportunities to practise good listening.

Don’t interrupt your child

Never cut in while your child is talking, even if they’re angry or upset. Make sure you let them finish what they need to say, otherwise they won’t feel like they’re being listened to.

Try to pause before you respond as well. Your child may not quite have finished what they were saying, or may want to add something before it’s your turn to talk. It also gives you time to really think about how you’re going to respond productively.

Engage meaningfully

Show interest and curiosity in the conversation. It’s no good listening to what your child has to say if you’re not actually interested in what they’re talking about! It will also build your relationship as you get to know your child more and learn more about their interests. Parenting is a constant exercise in learning.

At Starting Point, we’re committed to helping children and their families connect and build meaningful relationships. If you’re looking for a contact centre that really cares, get in touch with us today.