Today, more than ever, we are not listening to more than a sentence or two of what anyone says. This is sad, because sometimes people have some really important things to say, and yet our attention spans are getting smaller and smaller.
Attention span is the amount of time that a person can concentrate on a task without becoming distracted. Most educators and psychologists agree that the ability to focus one’s attention on a task is crucial for the achievement of one’s goals.
In these wonderful internet days, studies have shown that most people don’t spend more than a minute on any internet site, we also short people on our listening skills. What person has been in mid-sentence and found that the other person has literally walked away or nodded and look around for someone else to talk to?
If this is an adult dilemma, it is now wonder that children are developing shorter and shorter attention spans and second-rate listening skills.
Our challenge as parents is to show with our own sound bites how important listening to another human being is in the grand scheme.
As a paid listener, I have seen people’s faces light up when they realize I remember a tidbit someone told me from a previous counseling session. I see how children stand taller when you remember to buy their favorite video that they said they liked.
Most children learn by imitation. They observe how you listen, and how much attention you give to tasks, or people. Are you rude to some people and nice to others? They are watching, and taking note, not always to imitate but sometimes to tell themselves, “That’s not how I am going to be when I get older.”
Do you cut your child off mid sentence and tell them to go put their clothes away? Or do you patiently wait out a complete sentence?
How you engage your child in conversation and hear about their day at daycare or school is the building block for a long and fruitful parenting life. How you talk to your child’s parent and about your child’s parent or grandparent is how you will be hearing them talk about you in the future. Kind words don’t cost a cent and a moment or two of interested listening can go a long way in teaching your child good social habits.
Did I keep your attention? Let me know? I am listening….