Is your guru in the next room?

Our children are often our Gurus in disguise. Mine certainly are. What I have begun doing nightly is just spending quiet time with them and allowing them to talk to me, undistracted by anything else. No real answers...just a time to share. It's not that this is such a new or novel practice, it's more about employing mindfulness. I have become much more mindful and in that, find myself totally engaged and present in these moments. For me, it is priceless, but more importantly,
listening helps children feel important, appreciated, and respected. A conversation that could have just touched the surface, deepens dramatically when we really listen to our children.

Those who listen to their children help them to know that what that have to say and how they feel truly matters.

Active listening is a skill that goes beyond just hearing words. It takes energy and understanding what feelings are beneath the words — the emotions and context within which the words are framed.

Here are some tips for active listening:

1. Give your child your entire attention. Don’t be thinking of what you will say when it is your turn to speak.

2. Maintain eye contact and make sure your body language shows you are listening by leaning forward.

3. Don’t multitask when you are listening – just listen to what is being said.

4. Do not get distracted by noises, people or your own thoughts.

5. Keep open to what your child is saying. If you don’t agree, take in what your child says and wait until he or she is finished before responding.

6. Ask clarifying questions without interrupting your child.

You will know you have actively listened when your child seems more at ease after your conversation. Listening to our children validates their experience.

Each evening when you put your child to sleep, ask them what was the best or hardest part of their day and really listen. Your child will know that he or she is important to you and you will learn some of the greatest lessons of the day, from the mouths of babes.