Active listening skills for parents

Active listening is a really valuable skill for parents. Making small changes to the way you listen can help your child feel heard, valued and understood.

Man and son laughing with happiness as they look at each other

Give undivided attention

Show your child you want to listen to them. Stop what you’re doing, crouch down to their level and make eye contact.

Avoid interrupting

Let your child finish sentences at their own pace: it may be hard for them to find the right words. Try to be patient.

Repeat what you’ve heard

Once your child has finished speaking, say back to them what you’ve understood. You don’t need to use their exact words: you can add details and suggest an emotion they may be feeling.

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

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