The How To’s of Listening | Part 5


Listening and The Dinner Table

Like we discussed yesterday teaching children how to listen using their siblings can be a great training ground for the future in work and peer relationships.  One place to put this into practice is the dinner table.  Creating family dinner discussion rules can help.  Such as only one person talks at a time or we finish discussing one thing before the next is brought up.  This is an area that we need to lead by example.

Another fun thing that can be done at the family dinner table is to create a listening game.  You can have each child tell the family one thing that they learned from someone else that day.  Whether it was at school, home or even each other.  This can help create an atmosphere of listening.  On Sunday’s you can have your children tell you one thing that they heard in Sunday school or small group and one thing they remember the pastor saying.  This will also begin to train them to listen in a big group setting.  If you make it into a game you may be surprised at the things that your children come away with!


Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.

The How To’s of Listening | Part 52011-08-15T10:57:24-04:00

The How To’s of Listening | Part 4


Using Siblings to Teach Listening 

One thing that as a culture we seem to be failing to teach our children is patience.  We are trained for instant gratification and if we are not careful our children will be no different. An area that can be used to teach both listening skills and patience is sibling communication.  Like we discussed yesterday active listening is something that is a choice.  It is also something that needs to be taught because most of us are born with the “me first” attitude.  As parents we can begin to teach active listening by having our children look at us when we are giving an instruction and then simply requiring a response.  This will begin to teach children that they need to look at the person that is speaking to them and answer.  The next step to teaching listening is with their siblings.  We need to train them that their siblings deserve the same kind of listening respect.  This is where the patience comes into play as we are helping them to wait their turn in talking.  Which means no interrupting.  As children get older we also need to train them to stay with the conversation until it has been completed before we bring up something new to talk about.  All of these things, that are seemingly simple, are listening skills that some adults have not mastered.  This small listening skill that can be practiced with siblings can be invaluable for a child later and help them in both adult relationships and jobs.  


Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.

The How To’s of Listening | Part 42011-08-15T10:57:06-04:00

The How To’s of Listening | Part 3


Where is Your Front Porch

Yesterday we talked about training children to listen by taking the time to hear what they have to say.    There are other places that we can listen by example as well.  A child often observes how mom and dad interact.  In fact how we live out our marriage will have a direct impact on the future marriages of our children.

One of the things that is easy for a child to observe is how their parents communicate.   Do they see communication that builds or tears down?  What do they observe when their parents disagree?  Most of all do they see their parents listening to each other?

Before the age of television families could be seen sitting on their front porches enjoying the evening after dinner.  Maybe the children were playing in the front yard while their parents sat and enjoyed each other’s company.  The important thing about this was not just the time spent as a family but the fact that children could daily watch their parents interact and communicate.  So the question for today is where is your front porch?


Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.

The How To’s of Listening | Part 32011-08-09T20:56:53-04:00

The How To’s of Listening | Part 2


 Listening By Example

There are many things that we teach our children by simply showing them how to do it.  One of the most important and sometimes difficult things about parenting is that we must always be aware there are little eyes watching everything we do.  This means our words and actions need to match up.

Practically, other then instructing your children to “listen to mommy/daddy”, how do we teach listening?  We can first be an example to our children in how to listen.  This, however,is not always as easy as it sounds.  Do we find ourselves absently answering a child’s question without really listening to what they are saying? Are there ever times that we assess a situation and make up our minds about what happened without listening to our children?  That is just in everyday situations, when a child is acting out listening can become even more difficult.  We need to remember to be intentional because our children will learn how to listen from how we listen to them.


Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.


The How To’s of Listening | Part 22011-08-15T10:56:19-04:00

The How To’s of Listening | Part 1



Many times when you think of listening it seems like a passive activity but listening is an action verb.  It is not only something that you do but it is something that you do very intentionally.  It is a choice.  Listening takes hearing a step farther.  When a person is communicating, you are not only hearing the words that are coming out of their mouth but becoming engaged in what they are saying.  It involves not just your ears but mind as well.  We need to practice something called active listening.  This means that our whole body is communicating that we are listening as well.   We are facing our children, looking them in the eyes and attempting to understand what they are saying.  It is hard to train what we do not practice.  When a child feels listened to they will tend to be more and more communicative.  The reverse is also true, if a child feels brushed off or absently dismissed it can cause them to clam up.   So as we are training our children to listen we as adults need to remember it is a choice but one that will ultimately help to make your child feel valued!


Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.

The How To’s of Listening | Part 12011-08-09T20:57:34-04:00

Creative Communication


As parents we need to keep in mind that kids are often the most willing to talk when their hands are busy.   This is where we can get creative.  Pulling a child in to help you make dinner can not only teach them a life skill but can open the doors of communication.   There are certain hobbies that our kids like to do that can be great talk times, such as throwing a ball or shooting hoops.  Even some “old timey” family activities can spark great conversation, like keeping a puzzle out to do as a family or working on a model.

Some activities can even become a family routine like a walk after dinner or a family game night.  We can also easily sit with our kids for company as they are doing a chore.  For example, while your child is straightening their room go sit on their floor and just listen.   Sometimes the unexpected moments can be the best times to open the doors of communication.  We always have to be on the look out to not only see the opportunities around us but to create some fun opportunities for teaching your child how to communicate.

Creative Communication2010-08-11T19:40:45-04:00

Are you raising a Human Being or a Human doing?


I read your blogs last week about taking time to communicate with your child. My question is ‘what time?’ Where does a parent find time to communicate with their child?”

The frustration in that question is both loud and very common in today’s family. We actually don’t believe we have time.


Are you raising a Human Being or a Human doing?2009-10-17T10:30:20-04:00

It’s never too late (to teach communication skills)


iStock_000009252457 cracked sidewalk XSmallThe oak trees have cracked a portion of our front sidewalk, so workers came to replace it with fresh, new concrete.  It’s amazing how easy it is to put your initials in day old concrete (not that I did that).  The longer the concrete sets up the more difficult it is to work with.  It might be difficult, but not impossible.  You just have to really want to.

The older a child gets the more difficult it might be to get them to talk.  But it’s worth the effort. (more…)

It’s never too late (to teach communication skills)2009-10-17T10:29:09-04:00

Beginning to communicate!


mother - daughter listening iStock_000000708861XSmall“I know my child needs to learn how to express her feelings.  I know I need to hear her heart.  I know we need to talk.  But I don’t know where to begin.”

This question was so well phrased.  Everyone does need to learn to communicate. Those that don’t will not be able to develop meaningful relationships.  Texting is convenient but it isn’t really communicating.  It’s just messaging.

Communication between two people takes time and developing the ability to communicate takes even more time.


Beginning to communicate!2009-10-07T22:12:02-04:00