Tips for Getting a Child to Listen

Parenting can be one of the most rewarding experiences of life, but it can also be one of the most trying and stressful. Being a successful parent begins with one of the hardest aspects of being a parent, which is getting a child to listen to the person that is caring for them. A few simple tips will increase the communication levels without causing any excess amounts of stress or uncomfortableness for either the parent or the child.

Learn How to Listen

The first tip for getting a child to listen is to learn how to actually listen to them. There is an enormous difference between hearing what they say and actually listening to them. It is imperative to sit down with him or her, turn off the television and radio, as well as the cell phone or home phone, and give them full attention. As the discussion progresses, constantly repeat the main points back to them. Repeating statements will not only let him or her know that they are being heard, but it will increase the understanding because specific points can be clarified before moving on with the conversation. Taking the time to listen to a child is an important tip to learn and master because they will respond by giving the parent the same type of respect and attention when the discussion is instigated by the adult.

Speak on the Child’s Level

The second tip for getting a child to listen is to communicate on their level. Each child, and each age group, has different levels of vocabulary and communication skills. Lower the level of speech and decrease the levels of expectations accordingly. One basic rule to remember is that if they cannot understand, they will not respond in a positive way. This leads to vast amounts of frustration and impatience on both sides which will end in a conversation that is meaningless and can even cause hard feelings.

Get to the Point

Children have short attention spans, so get to the point of the conversation. Getting to the point may be hard at times because if they are trying to say something, but are afraid of the outcome, they may only hint at the subject or problem that they are trying to discuss. As a parent it is necessary to read between the lines of the conversation and quickly decide what he or she is trying to say, and when discovering the main point of the conversation the discussion can get to the point. A child will take this switch in the conversation as the parent actually listening to them, and understanding them, which will make it easier for them to discuss the actual subject at hand.

Avoid Yelling

The final tip to getting children to listen is to avoid yelling at all costs. This form of communication has been shown to have a reverse effect upon communication between individuals, especially when it comes to children. Once they notice a raised voice their defenses will go up, effectively ending the discussion, as well as their willingness to listen and communicate opening and honestly. Remain calm no matter what subject comes up, and keep voice levels at a normal tone.

About Marion Witte

Marion Witte was born and raised on a farm on the prairies of North Dakota. It was there that she acquired her Midwestern work ethic and her philosophy of helping others. Marion enjoyed a successful career as an entrepreneur, and upon selling her various business interests she began pursuing a life of philanthropy. She is passionate and outspoken about the need for radical changes in the way we view children and parenting. Her memoir “Little Madhouse on the Prairie” relays the story of her life, and it is the basis of her commitment to this work. She founded and manages the Angel Heart Foundation and its sister organizations “Next Generation Parenting” and “Brave New Leaders.”

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