Talk With Them, Not At Them
Posted by: Sue Atkins
I’ve been writing some new articles for an online magazine in the States this week and one simple idea to engage, connect and stay bonded with your kids is to…….
Talk With Them, Not At Them. Many parents I work with make the mistake of talking at their kids instead of with them – one feels like being included while the other feels like being lectured at and it feels like a one way conversation, so just be mindful of not going on too much and remember, that we have one mouth and two ears for a reason!
Last week I was asked for my advice at a Board meeting of Pizza Hut about ways to make eating together a better experience as I am designing some Talk Time Made Easy cards to use when you are sitting round the table to get the conversations started.
I’m a great advocate of eating together as a family as often as you can, because one easy place to chat is over a meal so make sure you ask your children simple questions like:“
“What was the best bit of your day?”
“What made you laugh today?”
Or get the conversation flowing by asking wilder questions like:
“If you were invisible – where would you go ?”
“What’s your favourite birthday memory?”
“If you were a cartoon character – who would you be?”
Include children in the conversation by asking them open-ended questions that open up conversations not close them down – so keep away from nagging about eating their broccoli and holding their knife and fork correctly all the time !
Get them to talk and tell you all about what they are building out of Lego, plasticine or doing with their toys.
Ask them about what they think will happen next in the story you’re reading, as research shows that children learn more when they are actively engaged in conversation with adults as opposed to passively hearing information.
So just for this week imagine you have a camcorder on your shoulder observing the way you talk with your kids and try something new !