Listen to Kids. Here's Why

We're too busy. Too busy to hang out and listen to each other. Too busy to ask open-ended questions. Too busy to let ideas grow in unpredictable, wonderful ways. I'm just as guilty as anyone. Now that our baby is 3, I'm re-dedicating my efforts to get off the crazy/busy bandwagon. She's got a lot to say, and I don't want to miss out. When our kids are little, we have the chance to set the foundation for listening. Asking -- and listening. I advise parents to start doing this with their babies even in the earliest weeks and months of life. A surprising amount of communication happens even then. Eventually, you'll get stories about what happened in preschool that day. Listen for stories of how our kids find their way with their peers. About sharing, arguing, and crying. About making up with friends, and making new ones, too.

Later, in the elementary years, you'll stories about tests and grades, the bully on the playground, and if you're lucky, stories like this:

Pretty cool, huh? If we're too busy, we miss out on those opportunities.

Here's another payoff: When those kids get into middle and high school -- and encounter all sorts of squirrelly social situations -- they'll have a foundation for talking things through with trusted adults to help them find their way. So have fun asking -- and listening.

Aloha,

Dr. Heather

The BabyShrink

Mom of Four, Parenting Expert