One of the simplest parent tips is one that is often overlooked because it is so obvious:
Listen to your children.
As the saying goes, there is a reason we are given two ears and one mouth.
For parents it is tempting to reverse the ratio and do more talking than listening. After all, there is so much we want our children to learn and do. We are the source of much knowledge, and there is a powerful urge to share it often.
And, of course, talking to children is very good for them. It helps them acquire more of the subtleties of language.
But children also need to talk and to be heard.
When you listen carefully to what children are saying, you send the clear message, “You matter to me. I care about what you have to say. Your ideas and opinions are worthy of being heard.”
Those are powerful messages for children to absorb.
The best advice is to slow down, face your child, even get down to his level, wait, and listen carefully to what he or she has to say.
Avoid the temptation to talk over your children. Don’t finish their thoughts, even if their speech is halting or they are searching for words. Let them find the words on their own, or help with gentle prompting.
Don’t hurry your child to get on with it. Be patient. The time you spend listening will bear long-terms dividends for both of you.