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Speech and Communication

Active listening skills for parents

How can we make sure children feel heard? Small changes to the way we listen can make a world of difference.

Give undivided attention

Hearing isn’t the same as listening – and your child will sense it! Use these actions to show you’re interested in and paying attention to what they have to say:

  1. Stop what you’re doing
  2. Crouch down to their level
  3. Make eye contact.

Avoid interrupting

Let your child finish sentences at their own pace – it may be hard for them to find the correct words to use.

Repeat what you’ve heard

Once your child has finished speaking, say back to them what you’ve understood.

They don’t need to be the exact words – you can add details and suggest an emotion they may be feeling. If you’ve got it right, your child will agree with you.

If you’re not clear whether your child is sad or angry or scared, it’s okay to guess. Your child may not know the correct word, but you’ll be able to work it out together.

Watch it in action! This YouTube clip from the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond shows how active listening can help children feel listened to.

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