Tuesday, November 2, 2010

HUH? Helping Kids Listen

Do you ever feel like a broken record? Do you ever feel like a broken record? It’s frustrating when you feel like you are constantly repeating yourself and everything you say falls on deaf ears. So what’s the solution?

Well friends, first I say to you: look inward. Before you apply any quick fixes to your kiddos to get them to listen, evaluate when it is you are asking them to listen to you. Is it when they are in the middle of an art project? A future Tony award winning Broadway production? On the brink of discovering a new periodic element right in your very own backyard? Then you are interrupting them. Young children haven’t mastered the fine art of multitasking yet. It's difficult for them to listen to you and work on whatever project they are engaged in. In such situations, my advice to you is to wait for a good stopping place before expecting to have your child’s full attention.

Let your child know that you have something important to say that requires their full attention. Get on her level (e.g., on your knees, on the floor)

“I need you to stop for a few seconds while I tell you something.”

Wait while your child finds a stopping place. If your child doesn’t or won’t stop what she is doing in a reasonable amount of time, help her to do so. Tell her what you needed to say, then end the conversation with

“Thanks for stopping to listen. That was so kind of you.”

So what about times when your child isn’t busy becoming the next Nobel Laureate? Try saying, “Let me see eyes, please,” or placing one hand gently on his shoulder and waiting for eye contact before starting to speak. Ever heard the phrase ‘The eyes are the window to the sole’? There’s some truth to it. Make sure your child is looking at you when you’re talking to him. That way, you know he’s hearing what you’re saying.

In the same vein, show similar respect when your child is speaking to you. Give your child eye contact and your full attention when she’s talking to you. Make your child believe that what she’s saying to you is the most important piece of information you will receive all day. Guess what? She’ll likely do the same for you.


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