How to Promote Active Listening with Our Children

In order to promote active listening, it's essential to know how to remain silent and listen carefully to what children and adolescents have to say.
How to Promote Active Listening with Our Children

Last update: 17 November, 2022

All families have dynamics that allow them to establish, among other things, the parenting methods and the type of communication they will use with their children at home. Today, here are some tips on how to promote active listening work with your little ones, as it’s the best way we can use dialogue as a mediating tool.

Have you ever heard of active listening? This is a technique within positive communication that allows all family members (but especially children) to feel that their needs are being addressed and understood. This is achieved by never giving way to violence and using empathy and respect when listening to others on a daily basis.

You might be interested in: The Importance of Listening to Your Kids

In order for active listening to work, you must focus on positive communication

Positive communication is the type of dialogue that allows us to express our feelings, anxieties, displeasure, and thoughts in a clear and calm manner. Always using kind language that doesn’t give way to misinterpretations or humiliations that end up affecting others negatively. This is because it’s the kind of communication in which one not only thinks about their own emotions and needs, but also those of others.

A child plugging his ears while his teachers speaks to him.
If you always resort to scolding, yelling and absence in the face of problems, it’s most likely that children won’t learn to deal with their mistakes.

Avoid yelling and offenses, since they only create emotional wounds that don’t allow children to improve from their mistakes. In addition, you should eliminate labels from your vocabulary, avoid saying things like “because I said so” as an absolute answer, and be aware that the words you use in daily communication have a great impact on the emotional development of children.

It’s better to be a team with your partner and employ positive parenting, where assertive communication is put into practice so that everyone can be heard. Understanding that as parents, we must have more patience and tact so that children can improve from their mistakes in a respectful, empathetic and loving way.

Continue reading: Why Doesn’t My Child Listen to Me?

5 techniques to make active listening work

In order to cultivate this type of dialogue at home it is very important to first learn about emotional intelligence to know how to react to stressful situations. Because in positive communication there should be no room for violent reactions or reactions that involve any type of verbal or physical abuse.

Here are some techniques to promote active listening with your children.

1. Make eye contact

A mother looking at her toddler in the eye.
Looking your children in the eye, whether they’re babies, children, or teens, lets them know that you’re listening to them.

When your little one’s talking to you about something that’s important, make eye contact and use your body language to let them know that you’re paying attention to everything they’re saying. So look them in the eye, nod your head, smile, and, if possible, get down on their level so they know you’ll always be there when they need you.

2. Don’t interrupt the conversation

After a tantrum, for example, it can seem very difficult to listen assertively when we still have emotions inside. However, if you want to help children understand what they’re feeling and what they can do to make it better, it’s vital to let them speak and express themselves without fear of being interrupted.

So, try to stay calm and listen carefully to everything your little one’s saying. And, in this way, then you’ll be able to give your point of view to make them understand with respect and love that their behavior was inappropriate for whatever reason.

3. Avoid value judgments

Words said at inopportune moments are engraved in the memory of all children. Hence the importance of positive communication; labels and value judgments should be as far away from your home as possible.

Although sometimes it can be complex to control emotions because we’re aware of the poor attitudes of children, if you want to promote tolerance, it’s important to learn to use dialogue and active listening, as through communication and our example, we can provide life lessons to our children.

4. Don’t reproach everything they say

It may seem very difficult at times to keep calm when children are wrong, but it’s necessary. Throwing everything they’ve done in their face without giving them an assertive solution or letting them speak only creates walls between you that will drive you apart over time.

Remember that for active listening to work, you must allow your children to express everything they have to say to you. And even if you disagree, you should avoid reproach and instead explain respectfully why their behavior isn’t acceptable.

5. Be an example for your little one

The way in which we as parents react to day-to-day decisions gives children instructions on how they should react in the future. Therefore, if you don’t want your child to ignore you in their adolescence, listen to their needs from the time they’re small.

The first role models children have in their lives are their parents. So, be careful in the way you express yourself and the example you’re setting. Show them that it’s more important to talk about how we feel than to resort to the irrationality of yelling.

To promote active listening, you must empathize with your children

Thanks to positive communication and active listening, we parents can teach children how they can express their feelings assertively, by taking care of themselves and others. In addition, we set an example that no kind of violence can be accepted. Understanding that prioritizing dialogue and respect over shouting and insults will always be a better option.

So, don’t forget to empathize with your little one and show them that within them lies what’s necessary for them to learn to control their emotions in an intelligent way. Listen to them attentively and guide them on their way through life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.