The plates are piled high in the sink, spaghetti sauce everywhere, and all you really want after lunch is for your child to help with one small chore. Asking once, asking twice, asking three times to put down a toy and come help out has you becoming red as the pasta sauce, so you conquer the heap of dishes yourself, wishing deeply that your kid was a better listener.
What’s important for us to realize as parents is that there’s no need to wish. Being good at anything takes practice– riding a bicycle, memorizing the ABCs, tying your shoe– listening is no exception. The endless reward is that if our children become good listeners now, they are destined to become better friends, students, leaders, communicators. So where should you start?
Here are five real, tangible ways to help your young child be a good listener:
1. Show your child what it looks like to listen
Truly focusing happens with the whole body – making eye contact, turning your shoulders towards the person who is speaking.
2. Vary the Tone in Your Voice
Play with volume and pitch to create more curiosity about what you’re saying.
3. Read Together
To make sure they’re engaged and listening, pause to ask your child what they think (or know) will happen next.
4. Throw a dance party
Tip toe when the music is soft and march when it’s loud. Get silly!
5. Say “thank you for being such a good listener”
One simple phrase that feels great to hear, at any age.
Qualities like listening, thoughtfulness, kindness, resilience, grit – these are life-long practices. And when we start practicing them as part of playtime, we can all look forward to more manners and fewer meltdowns. At last there is a board game and toy series around these life skills – I know because I made them. So with one closing plug, EQtainment is available at Target.
Enjoy your Qtime.
By Sofia Dickens, CEO and founder Eqtainment for The Healthy Moms Blog Magazine
*image credit: freedigitalphotos.net