Active listening; how to communicate better with children


Active listening involves fully concentrating on what is being said – to concentrate, understand, and then respond – rather than just passively ‘hearing’ the message of the speaker. When you practice active listening, you are engaged in what the other person says without offering advice or being judgmental. The things we say to children act like a mirror, reflecting back to children ideas about who they are and what they will become. That’s why it’s so important that we actively listen to children before we respond to them.

Listening to children shows them that they are important. Sometimes children do not speak because they aren’t given the opportunity. Make time to listen to children and hear their point of view, ans try to ensure there is the opportunity for everyone in the family to be heard.

We can practise actively listening to children by not only hearing their words but by working out the feelings behind the words. For many children, behaviour speaks louder than words. What is your child trying to tell you through their behaviour? Be patient when listening – allow them time to tell their story, don’t interrupt them and don’t finish their sentences for them. You can also help them express their thoughts and feelings by helping them find the words they need to express their thoughts or showing them other ways to communicate with you.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:


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