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Listening to children: Improving communication with your child

Children can’t always put their feelings into words, so listening to them includes paying attention to their actions and behaviour. Listening is about two-way communication between you and your child, with each of you valuing and respecting the views of the other.

Children who are listened to are usually well adjusted and self-confi dent, whose needs are ignored may be withdrawn or diffi cult and suffer from low self-esteem.

Parents who cannot communicate well with their children are more likely to resort to smacking and hitting in moments of frustration. Communicating with your child is also vital in preventing child abuse, including providing your child with information on keeping safe, and being there to offer help and protection.

We’ve collected the best advice from professionals, as well as some top tips from parents, to help you communicate with your child, whatever their age.

To make for easier reading, this booklet refers to children as he or him, and she or her in alternating sections. All the information applies equally to boys and girls.