We seem to feel so busy all of the time these days. There’s always something we should or could be doing, whether it’s at work, around the house, with our friends, partners, kids, extended family, online or all of the above, it feels like there’s so much happening all the time.
It’s easy to get swept up in it, and try to multi task our way through life. Science has now proven that we can’t multi-task, not even super mums can! not effectively. You may be able to do several things at the same time, but you’re not doing any of them as well as you would be if you focused on one thing at a time. We’ve tricked ourselves into believing otherwise though.
Talking and listening to our kids can become part of this barely contained chaos. Our kids try to tell us about something that happened in the playground that day and we lend them half an ear while we gaze over their head at the evening news, or continue unpacking the shopping, and checking our texts or emails.
In this hurly burly existence time flies by and if we’re not careful, we may wake up one morning and realise that our kids aren’t kids any more, we’ll long to hear those playground stories and see the sticky fingerprints on the fridge door.
It’s important to pay attention. Our kids are the greatest gift we’ll ever receive. When they try to communicate and connect with us, instead of falling into the habit of treating them as filler between 10 other tasks, let’s make time to give them our full attention.
Here are some tips for active listening with kids:
Be at their eye level and look them in the eye when you’re conversing.
Listen attentively, don’t just wait for them to be finished so you can say your bit or go on about your business.
Show them that they have your attention say the odd 'uh huh', and when they finish speaking check with them that you've understood them correctly.
Discuss what they've told you. Ask them a couple of questions. You’ll be surprised just how interesting these conversations will become.
This style of discourse will make your relationship so much richer and will help your child become more confident and better able to regulate their emotions through open communication. You can demonstrate the art of speaking assertively rather than aggressively e.g. using ‘I’ statements rather than ‘you’ as in ‘I feel annoyed’ rather than ‘You made me feel annoyed”.
Making a point of having dinner at the table rather than in front of the TV will provide a fantastic opportunity for discussing the day’s events.
Knowing that they can talk to you and be heard will make it easier for your child to come to you when they are worried or anxious about something.
There’s a wonderful article on anxiety in kids at the link below.
Georgina Mitchell was born in Ireland, moving to Australia in 1989. Georgina spent many years working in senior management in the Corporate world, before leaving to pursue her passion to become a Therapist.
Please note as with all therapies, Results for Therapies delivered by Hypfocus may vary from person to person