Children thrive when they know that you value your time connecting with them after a busy day, whether it’s time spent before or after dinner or at bedtime.
Set Aside Time
We all have a busy schedule. Be sure that on your list of things to-do, you include some special quality time to talk with your child and reconnect after you have both had busy days—your child at school and you at work. This can be a regularly-scheduled time but time should also be provided for when your child has strong feelings or emotions. This quality time cannot be spent drifting off to the many things you still need to get done or watching the clock. Consider minimizing distractions during this time so that you both feel like you have undivided attention.
Practice Makes Perfect
Even adults need help to remember to effectively communicate. Your child isn’t expecting you to be perfect when it comes to talking, but they are watching you. Set a positive example by communicating with your spouse in a positive way. There may be some issues that you don’t want to discuss in front of your child, but they should still be provided the opportunity to see you compromise and work out disagreements from time to time. Remember to show each other respect when you do this and avoid harsh tones or other negative traits.
Set the Stage for an Open Relationship
Your child is interested in having your attention right now. Cultivate this communication each day and you will continue to have an open relationship with your child into the teen years and beyond. Older children who have known to be able to opening communicate with their parents will be more likely to come to them with problems (for advice) and to be forthcoming regarding what they are doing and with whom. Continue to encourage your child to tell you the details of their life whether it’s a play date or a first date.
One way to capture the special moments from day to day is a family journal. This prompts you to take the time to talk about each other’s day each night in order to complete your entries. This idea is especially helpful for families on opposite schedules so that each parent can be sure to stay updated with what’s happening in the child’s life. When your child is unable to write, you can be the one to complete the entries—they can draw a picture and you can scribe the caption. As they begin to master the written word, they can take over the book that is sure to be a treasure for years to come.
Other Month of the Young Child blogs:
- Week 1 - Physical - Children on the Move
- Week 2 - Social-Emotional - Building Trust & Healthy Relationships
- Week 3 - Cognitive - Exploring with All the Senses