Pandemic Parenting

Building Relationships: Active Listening

Module covered O-A-R skills (open questions, affirmations, and reflections) that help you listen, understand, and build trust with your child. Here are some practical behaviors to consider as you are having conversation with your kids that show them, beyond words, that you are listening and care about what they have to say. 

Missed O-A-R skills?

Find them at minute 9:09 in Module 6!

Active Listening Behaviors

Physical Space

  • Move closer to your child (think distance you would sit from a friend while eating together)
  • Remove any physical barriers between you and your child
  • If you’re at a table or desk, consider sitting next to instead of across from them
  • If possible, choose a physical space that is comfortable, warm, and inviting
  • Go to their territory (ex: their bedroom), or at least neutral territory (ex: the kitchen)

Gestures & Body Language

  • Nod your head as they are speaking
  • Look at them instead of at your phone or other distractions
  • If you are in the middle of doing something, stop and give them your full attention if possible
  • Turn your body to face them
  • Check your body language- keep arms open and muscles relaxed
  • Remind yourself to smile, or at least not frown!


  • Try not to interrupt before your child has finished their thought
  • Write questions down so that you can ask them after they’ve finished
  • Don’t think about your response while they’re talking (and if it’s helpful, don’t even think that you have to respond at all outside of affirmations and reflections)
  • Keep your side of the conversation neutral, stating facts without attaching a good or bad label (ex: you want to go out with these people who could be bad influences vs. you want to go out with friends I don’t know)


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