Listening to our children takes time and effort. When life is busy and you’re juggling too many balls there’s not always time to STOP and really listen with your heart and with your full attention.
Our little children are at a critical stage of their development, and it is crucial for us to actively listen to them. Actively listening to our children validates them and provides them with a strong, solid connection which they need to develop strong emotional bonds and positive self-esteem.
As much as it’s difficult, listening is an essential part of parenting because it helps us to gain a better understanding of our children’s thoughts, feelings, and needs. Validation is essential for preschool-aged children because they are at a stage of development where they are trying to understand themselves and their place in the world. Our availability to listen and validate our children’s feelings and experiences helps them to develop a positive self-image knowing that they are important to us and worth listening to, that their feelings matter.
Connection is equally important! Listening with our hearts creates a sense of connection that helps to build a strong emotional bond between us and our children. This bond is essential for emotional development and provides a sense of security so that they can explore the world around them with confidence.
Our preschool-aged children have a unique perspective on the world, and by listening to them, we gain valuable insights into their thoughts, feelings, and experiences, we get to see through their eyes! What a privilege!
Thank goodness we no longer live in a time where children are seen and not heard! We want our children to feel seen and heard so that they feel empowered and loved, appreciated and valuable which is essential for their emotional and social development.
The other obvious benefit to listening actively is of course that it helps us understand our children’s needs better. Little ones often struggle to express their needs and desires verbally, as we know! But when we listen with our full attention we can pick up on their non-verbal cues and behaviours and give them the support and guidance they need to thrive.
Have you ever tried to build trust with a person who just doesn’t listen? Imagine how much more difficult it is for children to build and maintain trust when they don’t feel heard, validated, supported and valuable. When children feel properly heard by their parents, they are more likely to trust them and seek out their guidance, which is exactly what we want to encourage and strengthen, especially as they move from childhood into their tween and teen years. Build the foundation now so that the path is laid for later!