Guest Post by Carolynn of My Little Bit of Life
I know this is a simple thing and many of us think that we do this, but do we really?
My experience as a teacher (and recently speaking to current teachers) has revealed that children lack good communication skills. They don’t know about give and take during a conversation. They don’t know that listening is a vital skill of communicating and conversing.
For example, just the other day, I was talking to a teacher. She said, “I’m just so far behind because the kids are not used to listening and answering questions. I’ll ask them what day it is and they will either not say anything or look up at the sky and say something like, Umm, blue?!”
Now this could just be a lack of vocabulary, but I was just having this conversation with her; it’s November, and they do calendar activities every day.
Why Is This Happening?
I haven’t done a formal study on this, so this is all speculation. However, parents are busy. Parents are tired. Parents are stressed. Parents are depleted. Most families have both parents working outside the home (and of course, there are oh so many single parent families out there as well) that have to deal with all the stress and responsibility of their jobs and then come home drained, still having tons of work on their plates. Especially due to the state of our nation’s economy, many people are shouldering the tasks and responsibilities that used to be shared by other people at work. It’s no wonder that parents come home, feed the children and then “check out” until it’s time to get the kids ready for bed.
What Can We Do?
We need to take action. We need to consciously decide, that no matter how tired, stressed, or depleted we are, that our children are our top priority. And we need to show them that. They need to FEEL that. It’s not enough to just tell them.
Try your best to implement at least one of these suggestions:
- Eat dinner as a family and have a give and take conversation, make sure to ask your children open ended questions (questions that require a response other than a yes or a no)
- Ask your children what their favorite part of their day was; what their least favorite part was; what was the hardest part of their day was, etc
- Ask them about school
- Have them get ready for bed earlier and have a quiet conversation with them while they are settling down in bed. Read them a story first and then you can talk about the story.
The ideal scenario would be to spent at LEAST 10 minutes of quality, uninterrupted time, individually with each child.
Art of Conversation
- look at and face the person you are talking to
- make eye contact
- listen carefully and repeat a little of what they say
- ask questions to get more details
- be in the moment
Carolynn is an an Early Childhood, Elementary Education teacher, turned stay at home mom to 4 children: 6, 5, 3, and 20 months. She blogs about parenting and life at www.mylittlebitoflife.com.