Do you let a person finish before you respond – or do you try to anticipate what they are going to say and perhaps jump in? It is not because we aren’t interested but it is worth considering if we are interrupting because we are enthusiastic about our reply.
It takes time to organise and arrange our thoughts in a shared exchange with another person as a speaker. It also takes time to organise and arrange our thoughts as responses as a listener.
When I ask how well you listen it is because there is a wonderfully respectful technique I was taught that I would like to share with you that could quickly and easily change the way you might view conversations with others, and children in particular.
Reflective listening involves a degree of mirroring back to the speaker what they have just expressed – and shows that you have been not only been giving your full attention, but also imparts that you have taken in what was said and can easily encourage more conversation.
At first, the speaker could enquire why you are repeating their words – and this is very common in children, but when they understand that you want to understand it can become a real ‘game changer’.
Reflective listening is in effect ‘respectful listening’ and will change the way you can interact with children and it can even have the potential to limit or stop those difficult conversations that can leave the parties involved feeling heard and validated.