4 Ways to Make Your Child Feel Heard

As parents, sometimes we don’t realize how valuable our undivided attention is to our children. How can you make your child feel heard?

When You Don’t Hear Them

I was upstairs getting ready for bed one night when I heard my husband, J.J., calling Chelsea, our thirteen-year­old dachshund, in a really sweet voice to come get her treat. I knew it was his way of luring her to the back door and then to her doggie bed in the laundry room.

J.J. eventually gave up and went looking for Chelsea, who was sound asleep in her favorite chair in our den, unwilling to budge. When J.J. and the boys came upstairs, I asked them if they thought Chelsea had “selective hearing” skills because she didn’t want to go to bed or if she was going deaf. I had a feeling it was the latter. 

When Josh had left the room, Andrew, who was nine at the time, came to me with a concerned look in his eyes and said,“Mom, I hope when you get old you don’t go deaf like Chelsea.”

I asked why he was afraid I wouldn’t be able to hear him.

He answered without hesitation, “Well, sometimes you don’t hear me now. Like when you’re on the computer and I ask you a question, sometimes you don’t hear me.”


What They Have to Say Matters

Instead of defining that moment with shame and guilt, I pulled Andrew close and told him I was sorry for not listening sometimes. 

“Andrew,” I said, “what you have to say matters to me. I’m going to try really hard when you come to me to stop what I am doing, look away from my computer, and listen to what you’re saying. You’re more important than anything I do on the computer. Please forgive me for the times I don’t listen.”

In the same way we go to God because we want Him to listen and answer us, our children come to us because they want to be listened to and heard. Being heard gives them a sense of connectedness, which is something every child needs.

The Gift of Listening

That night God showed me a valuable gift He offers me and wants me to give my children: the gift of listening. 

The best listening advice I’ve heard is found in the Bible: “Everyone should be quick to listen, [and] slow to speak” (James 1:19). I think God would take it a step further and encourage us to listen with our whole heart by leaning in and really hearing what our kids are saying.

Here are a few simple ways to listen well so your children know they are worth listening to.

Give Your Undivided Attention

Make and keep eye contact.

Lean in and make sure nonverbal cues communicate that you are paying attention.

Pray as you listen. Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment.

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Empathize with their feelings and emotions.

Let the interaction be about them, not you.

Don’t be afraid to laugh, cry, celebrate, or be still with them.

The Gift of Listening

Without interrupting, ask open-ended questions to clarify your understanding: “So, what I hear you saying is . . . ?” Open-ended questions tell them you want to make sure you hear and understand what they are saying.

The Gift of Listening

It’s okay if they fall short of your expectations; lean in and listen with appreciation for one of God’s unique children.

Listening well doesn’t mean you are condoning bad behavior or agreeing with how they handled a situation; it means you respect them and simply want to give them the gift of listening through your time and attention.

Our children need to know they are worth more than the screens in our hands and the competing thoughts in our heads. We don’t need to let them dominate our attention all the time, but when we listen with our whole heart on a regular basis, we give our children a deep sense of value that will build over time and a connectedness with their hearts that will last long into their adult years.


  1. How can you make your children feel heard today?
  2. Write a list of ways you can show your children extra love in the form of listening today.

To learn more about tackling motherhood with heart-focused parenting and scriptural advice, check out A Confident Mom: Simple Ways to Give Your Child What They Need Most by Renee Swope.

Renee Swope is an award-winning author, a popular national conference speaker, and a former radio cohost and executive director with Proverbs 31 Ministries. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three children. Connect with Renee and get her free “Scripture Prayers for Parents” download at ReneeSwope.com.

100 Words of Affirmation Your Son/Daughter Needs to Hear

Matt and Lisa Jacobson want you to discover the powerful ways you can build your children up in love with the beautiful words you choose to say every day–words that every son and daughter needs to hear.

These affirmation books offer you one hundred phrases to say to your son or daughter – along with short, personal stories and examples – that deeply encourage, affirm, and inspire.

So start speaking a kind and beautiful word into their lives daily and watch your children–and your relationship with them–transform before your eyes.

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