I’ve heard it said that you should always listen when your kids are talking because there will be a time when they don’t talk to you as much as you want them too. I’ve tried very hard to remember this truth during my conversations with my son. Just today I learned that he thinks Mommy and Daddy’s bathroom is spooky (pooky) because it is always dark in there. Who knew?! And that his favorite food is popsicles. And he would like a red, green, and orange popsicle for supper. That he loves all the dogs but Maysie is his favorite. That purple pumpkins are neat… except the ones that don’t have happy faces. That he would like to sleep in his swimming trunks because he might need them to go in the water. When I told him that it was fall now and too cold to go in the water…he was not particularly happy, but he did let me put on his police car pajamas. And my favorite words of all…”I wuv you Mommy” and “Let’s read a book (booktd)!” All in all… it’s been a pretty good day of listening. Hope I can keep it up! 😊 Here are a few tips to help you let your little one know you are listening too:
- Make genuine and purposeful eye contact with them. Sit close to them and at their level. Look into their eyes as they are talking to you. Make sure you are fully in the moment and give them a chance to tell you whatever is on their mind. A favorite starter question of mine is…”What was your very favorite part of today?”
- Talk while playing with them. Some of the best conversations in our house happen around legos, puzzles, hot wheels, and action figures.
- Giggle and laugh as much as you can. Make silly faces, laugh at the things they find funny, and most of all smile.
- Talk over food. Model good dinner conversation by having each member of your family share about their day while sitting around the table. Encourage them to share a joke they learned recently. Be sure that you share one too.
- Use their million little questions as conversation starters. Sometimes when kids ask questions what they are really doing is asking you to talk with them about something they find interesting. So those 500 “why does” questions that you often get peppered with while driving in the car are really just your child’s attempt to make conversation, so roll with it. They are only little once and one of the best life skills you can give them is how to make conversation. So just keep listening and encouraging them to wonder about the world around them. As in so many things, you are their role model for how to speak and listen to others, so start early and keep those conversations rolling.