“She’s the perfect angel at school, but she never listens at home.” This is a common complaint among parents these days. In fact, I field a lot of phone calls from frustrated parents. How can it be that kids can follow instructions at school, on the playing field, and just about everywhere else, but completely turn their ears off at home?
It’s no big secret that kids are under increased pressure these days. Even in preschool, kids are learning academic skills earlier than ever before. If you think about the daily life of a young child, they spend a lot of time following directions and attempting to meet the expectations of the adults in their lives.
While it probably doesn’t seem like much of a prize that your child saves her most challenging behavior for you, it’s actually a good sign that your child does know how to listen.
So what do you do when it feels like your child never listens? You gather every ounce of patience you have, remain positive, and work on listening skills at home. It’s important to remember that although it’s frustrating when kids don’t listen, kids tend to shut down when parents are angry. Yelling about it will actually lead to less listening. You have to remain positive if you want your kids to retain lessons on listening.
Listen as much as you talk.
The best way to teach listening skills is to model them. If you want your kids to listen to you, you have to listen to them. Try these steps to modeling effective listening skills:
- Stop what you’re doing
- Get down to eye level
- Make eye contact
- Ask questions to convey understanding
- Repeat back what your child says
- Show empathy
- Kids are constantly being told what to do and when to do it. Sometimes they need someone to listen to them, instead.