Listening is one of the keys to effective communication.
When you listen well, you get more information about children and their families. You also get the full benefit of parents’ in-depth knowledge of their children. And you show parents that you value their experience, ideas and opinions and take their concerns seriously.
- Let parents finish what they’re saying before you speak. Then summarise what parents have said, and check that you’ve understood correctly.
- Check on the feeling as well as the content of what parents have said.
- Use open-ended questions to get more information if you need it. Open-ended questions give people a chance to expand on what they’re saying rather than just saying yes or no.
- Try to understand parents’ perspectives, even if you disagree with what they’re saying. Put yourself in their shoes.