“…so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” – Romans 12:5
One of the “I will” statements on our “I Will” Board this week is “I will listen others fully.” It is important to teach kids how to listen, because I don’t think it necessarily comes intuitively. The first thing I wanted to teach them about listening is eye contact.
To teach them about eye contact, I first had them look into each others eyes while they communicated something.
Next, I had them look into my eyes. We had a competition to see who could look in my eyes the longest. They didn’t last that long – seven seconds was the max. However, we talked about how it’s so important to look at someone when they are talking. This indicates that you are listening.
The next step was an old counseling message I’ve heard on listening. Learn to repeat back what the other person has said. So, I set up a couple examples where they could describe how they felt and the other person would repeat it back. I had Abby take a toy from Kenzie. Kenzie would communicate her feelings, “Abby that didn’t make me feel good when you took that from me.” Abby would repeat back what she heard with an apology, “I’m sorry I didn’t make you feel good, Kenzie.” Then she returned the toy. The next example was Kenzie sharing with Abby. Abby said, “Kenzie, that made me happy that you shared.” Kenzie responded, “I’m glad you feel happy.”
The final thing I had them do was learn to communicate and listen to “stop” and “no.” This has been an issue for us. They need to learn to stop right away when someone asks. So, I had them tickle either me or the other person. When we said no, they’d have to show they were listening by stopping right away. Teaching your kids to firmly say no is an important lesson, and it’s great to do it in this non-threatening way. They also need to listen and respond when they have crossed the boundaries with another person.
This concluded our lesson in being sensitive to others by learning to listen fully and respond.