You’re a busy mom. You don’t just want to improve communication with your child. You want excellent communication with your cherub. You want give quality time and attention with validation – in a way that will prove life giving to this little sweet spirit.
But, you don’t have time to read a novel on parenting.
You do have time for 5 life giving steps!
Getting Rid of the Guilt
You know your child deserves this improvement. But being a busy mom is more than just “job” or “laundry” busy. Perhaps you are homeschooling by choice or you’ve had it thrust upon you when you never would have chosen it for yourself. Maybe you just had a baby, and your toddler is showing signs of increasing neediness. Perhaps you are a caregiver yourself, taking care of your own mom or dad or someone who cannot survive without your service, working more than one job, or you’re a nanny during the day…
Maybe it’s simply “one of those days” and you’re just tired. The list goes on.
There are so many reasons why the very moment, when your child needs your communication, your full attention, you find yourself distracted, even at your wit’s end. You’re only human after all.
Here They Are
Next time you find yourself ready to explode as your son pulls at your pant leg for the seventyhundreth time, try these 5 life giving steps to excellent communication with your child.
Communication by Stopping! (In the Name of Love)
At first glance this can seem a) impossible depending on your current situation or b) too obvious or even too easy but, nevertheless, you forget. It’s okay! Remember, you are in charge and when Mom stops – everything stops. If your child is interrupting in a manner that is “ill-mannered” you will still need to stop, assess the situation, and then proceed by either giving your full attention or by calmly but firmly stating that you must finish what you are doing – having given your full attention to do so. This is dependent, of course, upon stage of development. Whatever the case. Stop, with love.
Communication by Repetition
Repeat verbatim what was said to you. Repeat your child’s statement slowly and without judgement. When adults repeat what children have spoken to them, they learn three things.
- You have heard them.
- You are listening to them.
- They are safe to tell you more.
Communication by Repeating Again: This Way
Now, repeat the statement your child has said but with a different inflection. Perhaps this time you are clarifying exactly what your child said. Perhaps now in such a way that exemplifies that you are churning over the fact that Tommy crushed Sadie’s doll – all with your new delivery of such a line. Or, just put a question mark at the end of the statement. This not only gives you clarity, but it also gives your child time to transition from what may be one state of emotion to another. Now you are having a conversation. Now attention is being paid.
Communication with Open-Ended Questions
Instead of asking a Yes/No question, consider asking something open-ended. Ask your child to finish the story for you. For instance, “Can you paint a picture for me with your words?” “Can you show me how that made you feel? (Notice the verb “show” in place of “tell”). Again, you are validating, giving time, listening and growing the conversation. You are also giving room for self-expression and creativity.
Communication through Specific Validation
This may be one of the most misunderstood methods to deepening your relationship and increasing confidence in your child. Validating your child happens naturally when you do one or all of the above items. Validation is easy. Parents and caregivers oftentimes do this quite naturally. “Wow!” “I see you!” and the most natural go-to phrase, “Good Job!” These are wonderful validators and a great place to start. They can give your child the sense that they are seen, noticed and loved.
But as wonderful as “good job” is – it doesn’t really give any clear information about what “job” exactly is “good”, or why.
Get specific. Next time, instead of saying “good job” try saying something like, “You did it! I just saw you pedaling your bike without the training wheels! You have great balance, Sophie!” or “What a beautiful painting. I see the color yellow right here. Can you tell me more about your tree?”
You not only validate in a much more rich and colorful style, but you are teaching your child that you specifically see their unique qualities.
Let us know in the comments what you try and what has worked for you and check out our YouTube Channel for more bite sized tips and tricks for Arts Integration. You can also find more coaching tips on instagram and Facebook. Read more on the Look Up Blog – or start with some more ideas on the topic of listening.
For more information on current classes and coaching packages visit Look Up Music & Creative Arts.