Tamariki will often talk over each other to say what they know or what they are experiencing, prompted by the person that spoke before them, and without any acknowledgement of what’s been shared. Life can get so busy that parents sometimes don’t even stop to acknowledge what tamariki say to them - “that’s nice” or “don’t be silly, there’s nothing to worry about.”
So, let's take time and learn to listen.
Firstly, the science...
We are social beings. Having friends, whānau and peers are extremely important to us. What we crave is connection - and it’s actually crucial for wellbeing - one of the 5 ways. Yet as Brene Brown points out through her research is what we sometimes fall into, creates ‘disconnection’ - talking over people, not acknowledging what others say - and it won’t allow us to build friendships, find our in-commons, nor support us to feel any empathy.
Listening makes others matter and it feel good.
Why this activity?
As you know, we’re big on tamariki feeling like they belong because of all the wellbeing benefits, but if they’re not listening or not being listened to, chances are this will only contribute to them feeling like they don’t … or not all of the time. This activity supports tamariki to listen because in this way they'll be more liked, learn about others and empathise.
Your wonderful tamariki!
What to do
You might like to start by showing this short clip and asking tamariki what they think about it?
Kōrero about how it can be hard to listen - why do you think this is?
And a good deal of expecting that our experiences are more important or valuable. But, is this actually the case?
Ask tamariki to come up with 2 answers (in their head) to the question, what makes you feel harikoa. Let them know you’re going to pair them off. One person is the listener, the other the speaker. The listener firstly is going to do a terrible job of listening. They will ask the question then actively not listen to their friend’s answer.
Then they might need to get the giggles out before asking the same question again and this time, really listening by asking some more questions and actively looking for what’s interesting, what’s likeable, what they’re learning.
You might need to write some prompts on the board for them (though this might act as a distraction too!):
What makes you feel harikoa and don’t listen!
What makes you feel harikoa and lean in to listen!
Why is it like that for you?
I can see that makes you happy by your face and how you’re talking about it
What other things make you really happy?
Then swap so they each have a turn.
Kōrero and reflect
Ask them to come back together and kōrero about what it was like when they didn’t feel listened to - lonely, disconnected, unimportant...
Kōrero about what it was like when they felt listened too - remembering that they’re all learning so it may not have been perfect! - connecting, interesting, like I matter…
And to add to this...
This is an activity you can revisit any time. Just replace ‘harikoa’ with some of the other emotions that bring up positive feelings e.g. excitement, a sense of wonder or awe, tau (calm), giggly.
Or print off these handy kōrero starter cards and practice whakarongo using these prompts over the next few weeks... and beyond!
Some other fun activities which help whanaungatanga between your tamariki is The whenua we share and Random Acts of Kindness Bingo