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Working on Listening

My own children are enrolled in karate classes and their Sensai, Randy Kopke, shares blog posts from time to time. They are quite good and worth sharing here! Enjoy!

"Have you ever wondered why your child isn't listening or hearing what you're saying. It may be because they haven't learned proper listening skills. Below is my blog about active listening. If you find this information useful please share it with your friends and family.

I’m sure many of you know that a child that listens well is going to learn more than a child who doesn’t. That really goes for pretty much anyone. A student’s ability to actively listen has a major impact on building the communication skills needed to become a successful person in every aspect of their life.

In our karate classes we try to get students to do certain things when they are listening to our instructors, specifically when they are being spoken to. Actively listening is a skill that takes effort and specific techniques. Helping your child learn these techniques is something that you can do with them at home, but it takes time and effort.

So, what is active listening you ask? Active listening means giving full attention to the speaker and trying to understand the complete message being sent. Active listeners show verbal and nonverbal signs of listening. Positive reinforcement, remembering, and questioning are all verbal signs of active listening. Non-verbal signs include smiling, head nods, posture, and avoiding all distractions. Being an active listener shows commitment to learning, an ability to become a leader, and good character in a child. Children who show these skills make fewer mistakes, follow directions better, complete assignments and chores faster, and many other benefits that help them to become more responsible and reliable as they grow.

The opposite of being an active listener is to be a passive listener. Many children and adults are passive listeners as they are not giving their complete attention to what is being said by the speaker. Passive listeners are partially hearing what is said and don’t understand the result of the conversation or directions given. The result of this is to struggle more when given assignments and chores because they either don’t understand or didn’t get all the information required to be successful. Like anything else, you are creating momentum in either one direction or the other and it takes a lot more effort to start moving in the opposite direction. The quicker you can change that direction the easier it will be to get that positive momentum moving forward.

Here are some tips for helping your child to be a more active listener. 1. Eye contact: We like our students to know what color their speakers’ eyes are. If you always look at what color a person’s eyes are then you know that you are listening carefully. 2. Repeating Back: Have your child repeat back what you have spoken to them. This helps to retain a better recollection of what was said. If they get it wrong, repeat it back to them and have them say it again. Have patience with your child to help them learn and understand how to behave. 3. Ask Questions: Ask your child questions about what they are doing and how they are doing it. This provides clarification and understanding to show the child is listening carefully. 4. Let them speak: Make sure that when your child is asking questions or answering you, that you let them finish their statement. When you interrupt you are teaching them how to do that as well. So, make sure to not interrupt your child until they have finished their thoughts.

Some things you can do with your child to help them become a better listener.

• Cook with them, read the directions to them and have them help you to follow the directions. • Read with your child, read books and stories out loud with your child and ask them to predict what might happen next. • Have conversations with your child about the things they are interested in. Again, let them complete their thoughts and then ask them questions to show your interest in what they said. • Ask specific and unique questions about them and their day. Whenever you know that they did something specific like a field trip at school, or a practice at soccer, be sure to ask them specific questions about what they learned or did. Questions like “how was your day” or “what did you do at school today” are normal. Dig more to get them thinking.

It takes a lot of effort and determination by you, as the parent, to help your child to become a better listener but these things become easier after you practice them and make them habits in your home.

Your Truly for Awesome and Amazing Kids,

Sensei Randy Kopke Sylvania Family Karate"