Last week we talked about figuring out what matters most to you, also known as clarifying your values. What kind of mom do you want to be? When we are doing things that embody that value, it just feels good! It gives us positive reinforcement which can provide feelings of fulfillment and meaning. 

One practice to help us pause and think about acting according to our values is this: being present. That means getting out of heads and focusing on the here and now. As a mom, I know I’ve got a constant running to do-list in my mind along with all the thoughts of mom guilt that start with “I should”. Those shoulds and worries and busy things are overwhelming and make it hard to focus on what is right in front of us.

As busy moms do we need one more thing to DO? Now I have to work on being present more? Gah. It’s not hard and the payoff can be HUGE for your own self as well as your relationship with your kids (and we aren’t even going to talk about how you are possibly preventing problem behavior that is attention maintained)!

Let’s try getting focused on the here and now while communicating with our kids- whether they communicate vocally or otherwise. 

3 ways busy moms can practice active listening:

  1. Limit distractions

When your child is communicating with you, put down your phone. Turn off the TV, the music, the noise you can control. 

 2. Describe what you see/ hear

Repeat back to your child what you are seeing or hearing. “I see that you are _____.” “I hear you saying _____.” That’s it. No judgment on this observation. Just make a statement. 

3. Get on their level

If you are towering over your kids when communicating with them, consider how that looks from their viewpoint. By simply getting down on the floor, sitting in a chair, squatting down, whatever you can do to be even with them, you can change the interaction. 

Active listening is more than just hearing your child’s words or noticing their behavior; it’s about being fully present and engaged, understanding their feelings, and responding with empathy and compassion. When you practice active listening, you’re telling your child, “You matter. Your thoughts and feelings are important to me.” This builds a foundation of trust and openness, fostering a deeper bond and a more harmonious home environment.

The benefits to the child seem obvious when it comes to actively listening or paying attention to all their forms of communication. But what about the benefits to the mom? Many of the families I have worked with through parent coaching share feelings of connectedness to their kids after working on things like active listening. They report back less problem behaviors and their own ability to remain calm or be patient. Why? Because those feelings of connection are reinforcing to the parents, too. The successful interactions that come from truly focusing in on what is being communicated are reinforcing to the parents. 


Getting present for just a few moments at a time and engaging in active listening can make a huge difference. But it sounds so overwhelming for already overworked parents. The good news? It doesn’t have to be a big to-do. It doesn’t take an 18 point plan. 

Try just one of these 3 steps at a time. Practice the no distractions part. Or just get down on their level. Or try using observation statements when you are tempted to jump into fix it mode. Try one thing at a time or all 3. The key here is to TRY. And when it is helpful? Notice and keep doing that thing!