What would life be like for us if no one listened to our ideas or stories? Just like us, a child wants to be heard. In Kathryn Kvols book Redirecting Children’s Behavior, she suggests listening to your child for five minutes five different times a day: when she first wakes up, after school, etc.
Ways for your child to feel heard during those five minutes:
1) Get on your knees and listen at eye level. Practice the following with your spouse. Have one of you stand on a chair and the other kneel on the floor. Try carrying on a conversation in this way. Next try talking with each other at eye level. Which way makes you feel more connected with the other?
2) Validate your child’s story by repeating it. Repeat/paraphrase her words even if it isn’t exactly the most exciting thing you have ever heard. For her, talking about the fact that a cloud looks like a rabbit may be very important.
3) Stay engaged in the conversation. If the phone rings, don’t pick it up. By not answering the phone, you are communicating how important she is to you.
4) Strive for five. Try to make the conversation go back and forth 5 times/exchanges. This forces us to listen more closely.
The best part about listening is that you will really hear your child and get to know her better.
Kvols, K. (1997). Redirecting children’s behavior (3rd ed.). Seattle, WA: Parenting Press.