I’ve been working on being a better listener lately. Here are some more things I’ve been working on and found useful.
- Make eye contact. Yes, stop looking at dishes, that book, or the computer screen.
- Ban “uh huh” as a response. It’s pretty obvious that this response is a half-hearted, uninterested gesture.
- Ask a followup question. If child asks, “Do you like my picture?” don’t say “yes, it’s beautiful.”Say that, but then ask what the strange brown dots all over mommy’s face are for. It doesn’t matter what you ask, just as long as it relates to the original statement or question from the child.
- Don’t jump to conclusions, and don’t react too quickly. I remember David wanting me to listen to his rock song. I was a little nervous at first, until I realized that he had a rock on the piano and was making up a ROCK SONG. Those kind are okay. I jump to conclusions pretty fast, so this is a hard one for me.
What if your child isn’t a talker?
- What I’m learning is that they ask more questions when I’m a better listener.
- They also ask more questions than I think, once I start paying attention.
- Ask questions during mealtime or in the car. Ask, “Did you notice that….” and then ask them “Why do you think mommy did that?” [or some other relevant followup] I’ve learned that my non-talker is very observant and this approach always seems to get the conversation started. My middle child isn’t always very observant in the same way, and she benefits from my drawing her attention to something important.
- Find the times and ways when they will talk, even if it’s inconvenient to you.