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Back to School: How to Listen to Your Kids

Sep 27, 2023

Now that school's back in full swing, it's like the parents' appointment hotline is ringing off the hook! They're all eager to schedule appointments for their kids, preparing for any anxiety that might pop up. But hey, before we break out the problem-solving tools, let's give those little voices a chance to speak. Time to listen and understand their worries first!

I’ve written about it before and you can access some of those articles here.  To recap, here are some great ways to listen to your kids as if you were being graded:

  • Give Them Your Full Attention: Imagine your attention is being graded, and strive for an A+. Put away your phone, turn off the TV, and make eye contact when they're talking.

  • Active Listening: Show that you're engaged by nodding, asking questions, and repeating back what they've said to ensure you understand. (Click here to read the difference between active listening and reflective listening.)

  • Empathize: Put yourself in their shoes. Think about how they might be feeling and express understanding of their emotions.

  • Stay Calm and Patient: Keep your composure, even if they share something challenging. Remember, your 'cool under pressure' grade depends on it.

  • Avoid Interruptions: Resist the urge to jump in with advice or solutions immediately. Let them finish their thoughts before responding.

  • Create a Safe Space: Make them feel comfortable talking to you by promising not to judge or get angry. This helps you earn top marks for trustworthiness.

  • Ask Open-Ended Questions: Encourage them to share more by asking questions that can't be answered with a simple "yes" or "no."

  • Reflect on Your Grade: After the conversation, reflect on how well you listened and identify areas for improvement. Maybe even ask your child for their feedback!

Remember, acing this "listening exam" can strengthen your connection with your child (it also helps in marriage, work partnerships, or any significant relationship) and helps them feel heard and supported. 🅰👂👦👧📚

Note: The above article is also highlighted in my first monthly newsletter! If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter, please email We would be happy to include you on our email list.

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