I often hear the phrase, “My kid just won’t listen to me.” Parents of little ones are frustrated, tired after a long day at work and the last thing they need is their child ignoring their requests. So, if you find yourself discouraged with the current situation, I hope the following helps bring things into a new perspective.
Most of the information we gain is not through our eyes, but our ears. Listening is a skill, not a talent we are born with. I don’t know about you, but my parents did not teach me all the skills I needed as a child to listen effectively. If anything, my mom used to just look at me, and I would know she was upset. She would sometimes raise her voice, or yell, to get her point across. Parents, we must teach our kids how to listen. This means it will take effort and energy, but you will soon see the fruits of your hard labor.
Teach your Child – The Five Fingers of Listening
I’m not sure where this originated, but I remember my first grade teacher using this all the time in the classroom. Basically, you put your right hand up and teach your child that these are the five things we need in order of fully listen. To make it even more fun, use jungle animal finger puppets. Then, name each finger with a different animal or you can use the child’s favorite animal or character – just be creative!
Your Script: “What are the five fingers of listening?” (Putting your right hand up). Then, name them…
1. Eye to Eye – (Tiger Eyes)
- The child’s head should be up… make eye contact with the child. If your child is looking away, lower yourself to the child’s level (on your knees) and gently raise their chin to meet your eyes.
2. Ears Open – (Elephant Ears)
- Point to your ears and pull them gently, taking your head along playfully. You can make a funny face as you pull on your ears to ease the child’s anxiety.
3. Mouth Closed – (Bear Mouth)
- Use your mouth – open it and dramatically close it, using your index finger to close the mouth as in shhh….
4. Hands Still – (Monkey Hands)
- Raise both hands at shoulder level and wiggle all ten fingers and then stop and freeze – it shows the child they have control over their body. Also, the point is to dramatize it to get their Attention. If you don’t make it fun, you loose your kid.
5. Feet Firm – (Lion Feet)
- Lower your voice and say, ”quiet feet, stand firm,” and do the soldier’s pose.
The key to helping your child become an effective listener is to do it early on, but don’t feel bad if you didn’t have the tools then and your little one is older. There is still hope. Just be consistent and make it fun and use props if possible.
I will be posting more tips on this topic, but would love to hear what the needs of your family are, so I can assist you adequately. Please share what has worked in your home – The best way to learn is from each other.
Here’s the worksheet (The Five Fingers of Listening – Teaching Kids Listening Skills)
Rest in His Word: Proverbs 18:13
“Answering before listening is both stupid and rude.” (MSG)
- In what ways have you been modeling listening skills to your child?
- Are you following the Five Fingers of Listening? Remember, you are the best role model for you child.