COMMUNICATING WITH CHILDREN THROUGHOUT SUMMER VACATION
How to make the most out of their break to establish a better relationship with your child
Summer is a good time for parents to give their time and attention to communicating with their children. After spending two-thirds of their time away from home throughout the academic school year, moms and dads finally have a chance to spend more time with their little ones. After all, you’re supposed to be their teacher and best friend at home.
However, most kids admittedly prefer to go out during this season - with friends, relatives, or neighbors. While it is good for them to be physically active instead of wasting time away, it is during these long play hours that some kids start heavy discussions and begin having insecurities or questions. For some, there may be arguments about who is better than who, or some kids tend to get cliquish and may exclude your child from their play, thus making him or she feel out of place.
The usual default response by parents would be to not listen to other children, or to just ignore, or to just be nice. Basically, the common reaction from moms and dads would be to get their kids away from trouble.
However, it is when your child has strong feelings or looming concerns that it is best for parents to step in and reassure that they are available to listen. Here are some of a few tips on communicating with children - especially given their free time this summer season:
1. Listen to what your child is telling you and show your interest by asking- “What happened, can you tell me more about it?” This reassures your child that what he has to say is important to you.
2. Don't ever rush to problem-solving. Your child might just want you to listen, and to realize that her feelings and point of view matter to someone. As parents, we always have that proverbial motherhood statement "Mother knows best" or
"I'm your father, I'm the head of the family.”
3. Don’t repeat what your child just said to clarify, simply ask “Could you repeat that again, dear?” Studies show that repeating any unclear statement back to your child is belittling and triggers insecurities.
4. Pay attention to your child’s non-verbal clues. Listening is not just about hearing words, but also trying to understand what’s behind those words.
5. Try shutting-up, not to cut your child off or put words in his mouth. Even when he says something that sounds ridiculous. When having trouble finding the words, coach your child by looking up for the right word, and explain the meaning of the word.
6. Finally, make sure you have eye contact as you communicate with your child. This is the most authentic way to let your child know you’re listening.
With so much time on your hands, make a commitment to start communicating with your children more during this summer vacation.