The other day someone was telling me they weren’t getting through to their kids. It is difficult sometimes to get through, but other times I feel it’s so easy. For the easy times I boiled it down to a simple technique to connect with my young kids- and it’s worked wonders for me: Give clear undivided attention.
Get rid of their distractions
Kids are easily distracted. Get rid of anything that will take away attention. Take them out of the distracted mindset. Don’t try to engage them when they are “in middle of a show”- wait till a stopping point (give advanced warning is best) and then begin talking.
If you have multiple children. Make it special time with just one child. They wont be competing for attention and they wont get jealous. It puts them in a good frame of mind. Especially if you do something they enjoy.
Get rid of your distractions
Often times your child is ready to connect with you but you’re too busy washing dishes, tidying up or even just thinking about work. Use your time with your child wisely- don’t waste it on other tasks. Multitasking doesn’t work.
Don’t worry about teaching or forcing your kid to have fun- there will be opportunity for that. Just go with the flow.
Don’t Just Talk, Listen
Ask open ended questions. Let your child talk. Pause, let your child continue their thoughts. Don’t just ask questions, you don’t want to be a detective. Share some of your interesting thoughts and challenges from your day to get the conversation started.
Bonus: The Best Time To Connect
Often times the best time to connect with your child is time you already have together. Two big opportunities are car time and bed time. In the car there aren’t many distractions. At bed time there aren’t many distractions plus your child may view talking to you as a good way of not going to sleep early.
The truth is that clear undivided attention will work on adults too. We know that focus or getting in the zone gets everything done better and faster. Don’t multitask- pay attention.