Guide to Listening to Children
Children respond based how we interact with them. View the following tips and more in our printable guide to listening to children.
A child needs a safe place to share.
Take in both verbal and non-verbal expressions.
Listen Without Judgement
A child cannot connect to your desire to help when they feel like they’ve let you down.
You cannot embarrass a child into improving their life.
Honor All Feelings and Experiences
Do not scold for being dramatic or pacify by saying it’s really not that bad.
Respond with Empathy
Go beyond sympathy to convey a sense of mattering, acceptance, understanding, and assurance that it will be OK.
Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
Do not try to relieve your discomfort by giving a knee-jerk response or distancing yourself.
Encourage Multiple Perspectives
Do not take sides, blame others, or ignore facts by quickly assuring that this is not the child’s fault.
Guide the child toward understanding and accepting the natural consequences of their choices.
Guide solution development rather than be a fixer and say you’ll take care of everything.
Keep Focus on Child
Do not share your own story in an attempt to make the child feel better or distract from what they shared.
Keep all confidences unless there is harm of hurting self or other.