Myself and Liam (8 years old) had a lovely chat last Sunday evening. And that little chat really made me realize so much. For one, that connecting with your child is important and that I definitely need to do alot more of these conversations.
So he was just about to get into bed and I went over to tuck him in, and asked him some random questions about himself and school and his friends etc. It was so random, I honestly didn’t plan it. And the longer we spoke, the less questions I asked, but the more he told me. It was almost like an inside scoop of the life of Liam. The conversation just went on and on. He told me all about his friends, the ones who are not real friends and why, the activities at school, things he enjoys at school and things he doesn’t enjoy and some other non school related things as well.
The delight in my child’s eyes was priceless. He enjoyed this conversation so much. I must admit, it kinda made me feel sad for abit because I realized that I really need to do this more often. You know, chat and connect and really get to know whats happening in my child’s life. Yes I do ask him about how his day went each day but he it never really develops into a long detailed conversation such as this one, at least not often enough.
I really do get so caught up with life, that I forget about how important these connections are. As a wife and mother of two, and full time working woman, my brain never stops running. I never get a chance to “disconnect” because even when I do sit down and just “relax”, I am still thinking about what needs to be done next, tomorrow morning, next week and on and on it goes.
Communication may not come easy for everyone. And the communication style (if any) between you and your parents, can sometimes determine the communication style between you and your kids. So I did some internet surfing, looking for ways to improve communication between parents and children. And not just communication, but actually getting in and connecting with your kids. This is what I put together.
- Set aside time for regular catch up sessions. Just before bedtime is a good time, or during chores.
- Ask open ended questions like “so tell me about everything that happened at school today”, instead of “how was school today?”
- Show him you are interested in the conversation. Do this by using phrases like “so what happened next” or “how do you feel about that”.
- Do not disrupt him when he is talking. This way you are teaching him good listening skills by example. You also get all of the details in order to come up with your next response. And, you will better understand how he feels about the subject.
- Maintain eye contact. I cannot emphasize this enough. Not only is it respectful but it helps both parties stay in the conversation and connect.
- Find out how he’s feeling about a certain matter. Do this by saying things like “I noticed that it made you feel uneasy about…”
- Keep it simple. You don’t need to solve any problems if any come up. This can always happen at a later stage. Rather focus on leaning in and listening.
Do you struggle to communicate and connect with your child? Or do you connect regularly? Yes or no, I hope this article has been of some help to you. Or perhaps someone that you’ve passed it on to.
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