Have you ever been frustrated because your child didn’t listen? I’m sure most parents have felt that sense of frustration at one point or another. We warn our children not to do something dangerous but they try it anyway or maybe we ask them to pick up their toys yet they pretend not to hear. Other times we just want to tell them something important and they are too distracted to listen. Sound familiar? How can we help our children realize the importance of listening?
Usually when our children don’t listen, consequences follow. (When we aren’t listening, consequences follow too.) The consequences may be a time-out or a natural consequence – EX. “If you stand on that chair, you could fall…” Either way, we hope that our children learn through the consequences to make better choices next time. Another way kids learn is by following. Young children often mimic what we say and do. (Have you ever been embarrassed by what your child has repeated?) If you want your child to listen and learn something, try having him or her follow you. A silly, dramatic role play can sometimes get your point across quicker than talking or scolding.
Okay, now that your kids are listening, what about you? If you want your kids to listen, maybe you should look at how well you are listening to friends, to other family members or to instructions. How are your listening skills? Do you find yourself distracted, unable to remember what was just said or completely ignoring the person speaking? Maybe your listening skills need some improvement. Are you listening to God? Are you reading His Word and following His instruction? Again, maybe your listening skills need some improvement. (I know mine do!) When you work on your own listening and following skills, your kids will follow your example and listen and follow better too.
Remember, learning to listen to God is the most important listening skill we will ever learn – for our kids and for ourselves. Let’s stop, open our ears and listen to what God is saying.
PS When Jesus was only 12 year s old, He listened , learned and gave good
answers about His Fat her God in the temple. He also listened to His parents,
returning home with them when they came seeking Him.
I am thankful that you long for us to hear your voice even more than we long to listen. Teach me to listen. I want to listen to your word everyday. I want your word to become a part of my very DNA. I want it to sink deep into my heart and change me. There are so many voices that vie for my attention each day; help me to listen to the right voices and to learn to know your voice. Teach my kids and grandkids to listen for your voice too. Amen
TIPS FOR HELPING OUR KIDS LISTEN
* Listen to them. If you take time to listen to them, they will be more apt to listen to you. This is easier said than done. We can become so distracted by all the things around us – work, e-mail, facebook, etc., that it’s easy to unintentionally put our kids on hold. Let’s make our listening focused and intentional. If you can’t talk to your child right at the moment he or she wants your attention, then give your child a time limit. EX. “Mommy will talk with you in 5 minutes, when I finish this phone call.”
* Get down on your kids level and make eye contact. Again this is not always easy. When you are busy putting laundry into the washer, making dinner or working on your laptop, it takes conscious effort to stop what you are doing and walk across the room to talk to your child, but the results are worth it. This is true whether you are talking with your child about a discipline issue or if you are stopping to listen to what they are saying to you. Use a calm voice and follow through with what you say – both when giving consequences and rewards. If you don’t follow through, then your kids will soon learn that mommy or daddy don’t mean what they say.
* Play listening games, praise good results and when you can, follow the “Mary Poppins” approach – make listening fun – after all, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. One fun game is to give simple, silly instructions for your kids to follow and then reverse it and let them give you directions – such as, “Hop across the room like a bunny.”
* Read the Bible with your kids. You can use a simple Children’s Bible, the Bible Ap for Kids, or even tell a Bible story in your own words. Just read and listen together. Ask your kids to tell the story back to you. Let your kids see you reading your Bible. If you read on your phone, then let your kids know that you are reading God’s Word.
What Can You Do With Your Child?
SHARE A STORY – Jesus At The Temple – Luke 2:41-52
Mary, Joseph and Jesus walked to the temple church to worship and to pray. – (Walk around the room, then stop and fold hands to pray.)
Skip, hop, and jump! Oh, I wonder, did Jesus play along the way? –
(Skip and jump!)
When it was time to go home, Mary and Joseph headed out of town. –
(Stand up and start walking.)
They thought Jesus was with them, ‘til they began to look around. –
(Put hand over eyes as though searching.)
Mary and Joseph wondered, “Where did Jesus go?” –
(Wave hands outward with a puzzled expression on face.)
They asked all around, but no one seemed to know. – (Shake head no.)
Back to Jerusalem they hurried, looking everywhere. –
(Look up and down and all around.)
At last they found Him in the temple, talking with the teachers there. –
(Put hands by mouth to indicate talking.)
Mary and Joseph said, “Son, we were worried! We didn’t know where you could be.” – (Cross arms over chest in a loving manner.)
Jesus said, “I wanted to be in my Father’s house. I thought you’d know where to find me.” – (Make church with hands together, fingertips touching.)
Jesus obeyed Mary and Joseph, going home with them that day. –
(Walk around the room.)
Jesus listened in the temple church too. He listened and obeyed. –
(Hand by ear as though listening.)
I can listen and obey just like Jesus did. Jesus came to earth to be my friend. He will help me listen and obey at home and at church. He is amazing and He can help me learn about God at church, in my Bible book and when I listen everyday.
Thank you for loving me. Help me to listen, learn and grow up loving you. I want you to be my friend and help me grow up obeying you. Amen.
MEMORIZE: Ps. 119:105 NIrV – (Hold hands open.)
Your Word – (Hold hands open as above.)
Is like a lamp – (Clap hands.)
That shows me the way. – (Walk in place.)
THE MAIN IDEA
KNOW: Jesus came to earth to be my friend. I can listen and learn like Jesus did.
TALK ABOUT: Growing, learning and listening.
ASK: Who wants to be your forever friend? Jesus wants to be my forever friend.
AND DO: Listen and learn about Jesus.
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
* Talk about your church with your child this week – ask about his/her teachers, friends, stories, etc. Pray for your church and your child’s teachers.
* Listen – Listen to Bible stories, listen to sounds around you, stop and really listen. Practice listening and see what you hear.