Whether it’s eye-to-eye or shoulder-to-shoulder
(on a walk, in the car,) talking with your kids is vital to creating a connection and doing our job as parents.

Why does this matter?

1. The brain is built by an interactive process
known as serve and return because it is very much like a game of tennis or
volleyball. A child begins with a gesture or sound – the “serve” –
and you respond with the “return. When parents respond sensitively, a child
is surrounded by positive serve and return exchanges which are the building
blocks of a healthy brain. (AHS- Our Brains Apple Magazine, 2013)

2. In the first 8 years of development, our
children need to have eye-to-eye conversations so that they can watch us and
learn how to move their mouths properly (speech-therapy referrals are increasing).

3. Older children need this connection because
they have lots going on and need to talk about it with someone. If they are not
talking with you, they are likely talking with their peers. Their peers may not
be able to share the values that you would want to share. Peers also may have
expertise in all sorts of things that you would rather your child did not
learn.

What if you don’t know what to say?

Starting each conversation with,

 “How was your day?”  could get very frustrating, very quickly.

It takes two to tango and one-word answers like
“fine” just don’t make a conversation.

So here are some conversation starters for you:

” ____ happened to me today and here’s how I responded to it. Has that ever happened to you?

What might you have done?”

“I heard that ______ is happening in our neighbourhood.  Have you heard anything? Do you know anyone who has done that?”

” I heard an interesting interview about this on the
radio today. What would it take for you to consider walking to Banff?”

“What is one thing you really want us to do as a family this holiday break?”

If you find yourself saying,

” I don’t talk to my kids because I don’t know what to
say,”
  here are some ideas.

1. Consider what you want your kids to be learning.

2. Consider what’s important to you for their future?

3. Make a list of the top ten values that you feel are important for your kids to be living now and
in the future. Start talking about them now.

This week, take a look at what’s happening in your family.

  • Are you making space for conversation?
  • Are there times when the devices are off and you are talking with your child?
  • Is it happening in the car, at the dinner table?
  • Do your kids know your values?

If you don’t like what you see, get rid of the
guilt and change the behaviour.

Find ways to set your family up for success, by
creating small, intentional spaces for conversation and connection.

www.parentingpower.ca

 

This article courtesy of Julie
Freedman Smith and Gail Bell,

Co-Founders of Parenting Power.

Our mission: We create Parenting
Power – parents who believe they have the real-life parenting tools they
need to raise capable, healthy, interdependent people.

There’s more than one way
to parent – we help you find yours!