Dear Parents and Guardians,
We hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable weekend. As we have all been spending several weeks with the same people, hopefully we are all bonding and enjoying this time together. At the same time, we are likely to be handling some challenges. We may have less tolerance for one another, we may be tuning people out, we may be spending more time on electronics, and we may be so used to being together that we may not be truly appreciating each other.
Today’s target skill is whole body listening. This skills will hopefully help us reconnect in a positive manner. It will also help us be more aware of our communication with each other. In school, students are often taught to use “whole body listening” which requires multiple parts of their body to be used when listening.
Listening is actually a complicated skill that involves using more than just our ears. It requires:
When introducing steps, focus on the one word direction. When your child is able to use those steps, try to introduce the higher level skills to refine each step. As adults, try being aware of using all of the steps when possible as we can all use reminders of this skill.
Suggestions for using this skill:
● Take time to notice and be aware of these steps. Although it’s not realistic to use all of these steps at all times while we are currently multi-tasking and managing many roles, create times during the day when these skills are a priority (eating dinner, playing games, breaks from work times, etc.).
● Identify listening expectations that relate specifically to your children/situation. For example, your house rule may include taking out headphones/earbuds when listening/talking to others in order to show undivided attention or your rule may include no electronics at the dinner table.
● Give a preset prior to expecting skills to be used (ex. Let me know when you have a couple minutes to talk about the plans for today or when you finish this round of the game, please pause so we can talk.).
● When not being able to provide whole body listening to your kids due to working from home or being engaged in a necessary task, let your child know when you will be available. Let them know that their words are very important to you and you want to make sure you provide time when you can give undivided attention.
● If it is not a good time to talk, due to parent or child not being available, use a piece of paper to write down topics to be discussed later. This way important conversations are not lost.
● Provide feedback to your child about how it feels when they use whole body listening (ex. I can tell you are really listening because you are looking at me and nodding your head. It is really thoughtful and mature of you to use these listening skills.).
● Interrupting and off-topics comments are already common for kids but especially during this time, it may increase due to swirling thoughts and feelings. Gently point out the interruption and encourage your child to wait until the person is done talking.
● Go to https://family.gonoodle.com/activities/strengthen-your-focus for a short yoga/balancing activity to help with focusing skills.
This current way of life involves lots of distractions that interfere with the use of whole body listening. Be patient with yourself as parents and be patient with your child as regression with this skill may have occurred with all of us throughout this time at home. We can take this opportunity to get back on track! Use today to reconnect and check in with family members to see how everyone is doing. We hope you all have a great day.
Marissa Lloyd, LPCMH