Photo: Shutterstock

I have said some version of, “I can’t tell if you’re hearing me because you’re not looking at me/responding” many, many times during my parenting journey (most often when I’m telling my son to turn off the television and put away his toys). The idea that eye contact is an important part of acknowledging someone else’s words is a concept that doesn’t always come naturally to kids, particularly if you’re saying something they don’t want to hear.

As adults, though, we know that hearing the words isn’t enough. Eye contact shows the speaker respect, that their words matter. Without that acknowledgement, one might find oneself wanting to screech, “Look at me when I’m talking to you!”

But there’s a sweeter, more effective way to get your point across, and it actually comes to us from a child (via a story from Instagram user mommingonpurpose): “Listen to me with your eyes.”

Of course, as this story points out, listening with one’s eyes goes both ways. The next time you’re prepping dinner while your child tells you a long, winding story about the level they’re on in their favorite video game, take a moment to pause and listen with your eyes. You might even drive the point home further by saying something like, “Oh wait, let me stir this real quick and then I’ll come over to you so I can listen with my eyes.”


Meet the smartest parents on Earth! Join our parenting Facebook group.