Engaging kids in conversation
Yes, today is inauguration day and… this blog has absolutely nothing to do with politics.
This week I want to encourage parents (and grandparents) to engage in meaningful conversation with your children.
Your probably wondering what I’m talking about. You talk to your kids on a daily basis.
• Time to get up
• Hurry, you’re going to be late
• Finish your dinner before you have dessert
Yes, these are all things parents say to their children.
I’m sure you have other communication throughout the day.
• How was school
• How was your day
• That was a great game
These are also typical conversations parent have with their children.
We all lead busy lives and conversation can become routine. Yes, we are communicating but are we truly engaging our children?
• What did you learn at school today?
• What was the best thing that happened for you today?
• How did you feel about that?
There was a TV show, I don’t recall the name of it, where the family would sit around the dinner table and talk about High/Low. What was the high point of their day, what was the low point of their day? Each member of the family contributed.
As adults, you don’t want to share anything too heavy with the kids, but they should know that you have high and low points in your day, and that’s okay.
Speaking of dinner… family dinners are a fantastic way to connect with your kids. This is not the time to reprimand little what’s their name about a bad grade or turn dinner into family meeting or lecture time. Dinner conversation should be encouraging. You want your kids to want to be with the family at dinner time. If you do High/Low and something needs to be addressed, gauge how your child is feeling about it and make a decision whether to address it immediately or meet with them separately after the meal is over. You know your kid best, do what’s best for them.
The main point is, you need to be sure your children know they can come to you with any topic. You want to encourage back and forth conversations so they know you care, they know you love them, and they know that even though you may be unhappy at the moment, you will always love them, no matter what.
If you have not established a comfortable level of communication yet, they may not be telling you everything that’s going on with them. Check in with your kids. Make sure they are okay. Open the door to engaging in meaningful conversation, which means being a good listener even more than being a good talker.
As Dr. Tim Clinton often says, “Every kid needs to know there’s someone who’s crazy about them.”
*Pam Horton is a Board Certified Parenting Coach in the Raleigh area.*