As parents, we communicate with children all the time. Whether it’s giving them instructions on what to do or telling them what they should not do, our conversations with our kids are many. But the question is, are they really meaningful? If we look at the conversations that we have with our child over a day, can we confidently say thet we would remember them a week down the line?
We live in a digital age where entertainment is available at the click of a button. It is a time where social media messages have replaced hand written letters and notes, where people would rather type than pick up the phone and talk. How then can we build relationships that are here to stay? How do we integrate today’s technology with that personal touch?
If we want our little ones to talk to us every day about everything and anything, we need to make sure that we provide them with the opportunities that encourage them to express themselves. This could be a one-on-one chat with family, a friend or even a group of people, but conversations that go beyond small talk are considered food for the soul.
So why do we need to have meaningful conversations?
Communicate with children at an early age, not just about the nice bits of news but also feelings that express anger, sadness and disappointment. There are simple ways in which you can engage in meaningful conversations with kids throughout the day. These include:
Turn routine activities into opportunities to converse
Making the most of the time you have with your children will strengthen your bond with them. Whether it is walking your little one to the bus stop, or cooking something for them, use these moments to talk to them. It’s not the time that counts but the depth of the coversations you have with your child. In fact, a 15-minute conversation can have much more meaning than an hour long one.
Acknowledge their disappointments
If you feel your children are quieter than usual, ask them about it. Initially, they may not want to talk about what is bothering them but with time, they will learn to depend on you when it comes to discussing their feelings, however small they may seem.
Set aside time to talk
If you are finding it difficult to spend time to communicate with children, then it might be a good idea to factor in at least 10 minutes with your child every day. Use this time to share stories with them or discuss what went right or wrong that day. You can do this just before they go to sleep or when they start their day. Your child will start looking forward to these minutes of bonding once you include them in your daily routine.
Try not to criticize them in a way that hurts
As parents, we always think about the way our child behaves or talks. But it’s equally important to pay attention to what we say and how we say it. If we want to correct the way our little one is doing something or tell them what they are doing wrong, it must be said in a soft and gentle manner.
Criticizing your child or comparing them to other children is definitely not the right approach when it comes to communicating with them. Instead, try to speak with empathy at all times. Children may not express it then, but as they grow older, they will start to appreciate your feedback and be willing to do what you tell them. Talk to them the same way we want them to talk to us!
Conversation time should be zero screen time
Make sure that you keep all devices away when you are have a heart-to-heart chat with your child or your family. This helps keep all the focus on the conversation with kids. After all, that important email from work or that message from a friend can always wait, cant it?
If you inculcate the habit of conversing with kid, right from the start, it paves the way for difficult conversations with kids that may happen in later years. At the end of the day, just like all of us, children just want to be heard. Before you know it they will be all grown up and ready to spread their wings!
So give them a lot of attention and talk to them whenever you can. It is important that you encourage them to express themselves and shower them with lots of laughs, love, hugs and kisses!
With children out of school, physical distancing as the new norm, and children’s rights under threat, the new world order has “turned back the clock” on years of progress made on children’s well-being. However, it’s not all bad. As a human race, we’ve been built to adapt: we’ve seen a tipping point in technology-enabled education and the promise of a new education policy in our country.