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Becoming A Better Listener

November 13th, 2012 - Category: Communication

What was that?  Oh, you want to become a better listener?  Listening is an important skill that we use all the time.  Unfortunately, research suggests that we only remember 25-50% of what we hear, and that number can decrease by another 25% if the person we are listening to is a child.  Listening better will not only help us understand our children, but it will guide them to become better listeners themselves.  As parents, listening can take a conscious effort that is well worth it.  Here are some tips to remember the next time your children want to talk.

Remove Distractions

Life is all about multi-tasking, except when it comes to listening.  Stop what you are doing, turn toward your child, and give them your full attention to show them respect.

Be Present Mentally

Now that you have gotten rid of all of the external distractions, next get rid of the internal ones.  Clear your mind, focus, and pay attention to what’s being said.  Listen to what is being communicated now, instead of thinking ahead in the conversation or formulating counter arguments.

Let Them Finish

This can be especially hard with a little one that can’t speak well.  It is very tempting to finish their sentence for them.   Instead encourage them with a nod of your head to let them know you are listening and to continue.

Don’t Assume or Judge

Let them tell you their side of every story.  Have an open mind.  If you immediately criticize or judge, then they will stop talking.

Look Behind the Words

Pay attention to their facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, and choice of words to get more out of the conversation.

Ask Questions

Instead of butting in with your comments, use questions to be able to better understand them.  Use questions to gather more information.  Paraphrase to make sure you are hearing what they are meaning to say.

Now, just how can listening relate to kids and chores?   Listening better can improve your ability to influence, persuade, and negotiate.  Listening better can help you avoid conflict and misunderstandings.  Listening better can help you have that extra edge when it comes to kids and chores.   Listen to them, and you may be surprised at what you were missing all along!

If you have any suggestions on how to listen to your children better, or how listening helped with your kids and chores, feel free to share them with us here at  We’re all in this together, and we could all use some encouragement and insight on what works for your family.

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