Resources for Raising Children with Active Listening SkillsAug 15, 2022
By guest author, Melissa Dean
When it comes to raising children, one of the best ways they learn is through active listening. A research article on “Develop Thinking and Communication Through Active Listening” identifies attention as the first step in the learning process. Without it, children wouldn’t be able to understand the information they’ve received. For instance, you may be teaching your child to not “talk back” to adults and instead, obey what you tell them. However, your child may dislike being scolded, so they tune you out and repeat the same mistakes.
As we discussed in our post called “What Are Conversational Skills?”, teachers have to set the right example and instruct children on what are the appropriate things to say. Parents are the primary teachers of children, so it’s important to guide your children by asking them questions or providing explanations — rather than punishing them. By teaching your child active listening, they recognise by themselves why certain actions aren’t done, so they truly learn from the experience. This manner of active listening can also give them a greater awareness of what should be done, and encourage change towards better behaviour.
Of course, it's not easy to model active listening. If you want to improve how you can teach your children but you’re not sure where to start, here are some resources to help you:
Calm Parents, Happy Kids
When it comes to positive parenting, the book Calm Parents, Happy Kids shares practical tips to guide you, as a parent, on how to prepare before you engage with your children. Dr. Laura Markham notes that parenting methods involving empathy and communication are the best way to set an example for your children. By being a mindful, calm parent, your children can mirror you and develop good values like responsibility and respect, which they can bring with them into adulthood.
How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen
Over time, you may face more conflicts with your child as they develop their own mind and learn how to be more vocal. As a parent, you need to be patient with dealing with these temper tantrums and understand where your child is coming from. How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen is an excellent guide for ordinary toddler problems such as screaming, running around, refusing to eat vegetables, and so on. Parenting experts Joanna Faber and Julie King lay down essential communication strategies for little kids across ages and even those with special needs. They place importance on listening and acknowledging your child’s feelings to promote better communication.
Newer parents may have a harder time guiding their children by themselves, so parenting blog Faust Island can help you get insights into what works for the Faust family. One of the key things they highlight is teaching social skills, so that children can better cooperate, understand one another, and make friends easily. One thing the Faust parents would recommend is to play with your children using toys and games. This way, you can actively promote the value of listening and sharing while having fun.
As one of the first parents on TikTok (@lauralove5514) to post about their gentle parenting style, Laura Love has popularised how you can break old parenting methods and be a kinder parent. Through her videos, she shows how she handles tricky situations with her two sons, how she teaches them to express themselves without being rude, and how to build confidence so they can work independently.
As a parent, it’s important to illustrate ways your children can start to be like you — expressive but kind. By working on your own active listening skills, you can inspire your kids with good values and teach them how to utilise key communication tools.
Melissa Dean is a freelance writer and editor. She enjoys writing about different topics, but is particularly keen on education and family planning. Beyond her work, she is a mother of two children and enjoys cooking healthy meals at home.