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Strategies to Get Your Kid to Open Up
This is a guest article provided by Sam Evans. Sam Evans is the Marketing Manager at MovingBabies, a leading online resource for parents specialising in the areas of infant and childcare. The site offers reviews and buying guides to help their clients make the process of parenthood more accessible. Find them on Facebook and Twitter.
Do you remember when your toddler never stopped talking and asking unending questions? There were days you even secretly wished you could teleport to some relaxing beach or wear earplugs, just so that you could get some peace. Then school happened, and like a thief in the night, your child ‘grew up.’
I’m sure that there are times now when you wish that things would go back to how they used to be. However, with growing up, kids no longer fancy talking to their parents about school issues or any other issues for that fact. It is somewhat of a common side effect in most school kids. Fortunately for you, there are a few tips that can help you jump-start the conversation again.
Learn How to Jump-Start Conversations with Your Kids Today
Children find it hard to open up about their lives in this pop-culture and tech-savvy millennium. However, even with the internet taking up the role of parenting and counseling, children still need a little guidance from you. Here are some tips to help you and your kid become conversation champions and grow closer together.
#01. Steer Your Kids into Becoming Emotionally Literate
Assist your kids in telling their story. We always focus on academics, but we tend to forget that they also need to be able to tell their story from beginning to end. Remember, a problem shared is a problem half solved. Therefore, you will be in a better position to help them address their issues when they articulate them. They might take longer to get to the point and schedules must be followed. However, they are still kids, and you should slow down for two minutes to ask action questions like ‘What did they say?’ or ‘What happened next?” Your kid will feel heard and encouraged to express their emotions.
#02. Pay Attention to the Superficial
Details matter. Kids live in the trivial, and they easily scare when you try to dig for deeper feeling. So, dwell in the superficial and more often, superficial questions lead to them telling you about what is truly going on.
#03. Sneak in Some Conversation During Your In-Betweens
Gone are the days when parents force kids to talk about school and other activities at a scheduled time during the week. With these harsh times, you have to find ways to make them let you in, and there is no better time than in between your activities together. You can be building a snowman, going for a walk or driving to school. Going for a walk is great, especially if your children are younger, as you can put them in their double stroller, strap them in, and as you walk point out interesting things around them. Equally driving to school in the mornings with your children in their car seats or booster seats presents an excellent, concentrated time to chat about the upcoming day and help them mentally prepare for what will happen during the day. These times and activities loosen tongues because you and your children are not looking at each other. Because you are in parallel positions sharing becomes as easy as walking through the park.
#04. Try Creating Talking Rituals
Try observing your kid’s conversational styles. You have probably heard about attentional styles, mannerisms in which an individual tends to focus attention on the environment differentially along two dimensions. However, kids tend to have hard-wired conversational styles that do not change much. One can be a lively morning talker; another is barely human before the bus arrives, but no-holds-barred banter after school and another needs to talk at a slower pace. The secret to openness is not to change what is unchangeable, but instead respecting their natural times and talking mannerisms. Take five or ten minutes of downtime side-by-side in the evening and make that connection with them.
#05. Give It A Personal Touch
Respond to your child with real emotion whenever they bring up topics with you. Don’t respond with ‘over-the-top reactions’ or see it as the opportune time to become therapeutic. Nodding your head, naming feelings, and reflecting back serve as terrific ways to respond to your kids they are incredibly young, upset, sick or in fear. For the daily tracking, however, you need to pay close attention to their lives. So, respond like an actual person. “I love what you said to Hillary; it touches my heart.” In any case are we not all attracted to genuine responses?
Give these steps a try today and you will re-kindle the good old opening-up days with your kids!
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