Sharing the ups and downs of life with your child can do a lot for both parents and kids. It opens the lines of communication, gives children strategies to deal with life’s challenges and lets you share in each other’s achievements. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of these moments.
Make it a routine
Kids thrive on it, parents often strive for it. Routines help us stay on track and know what to expect. Try out different times of day, such as after school or at dinner, and find the time that works for you and your family. Share a story about something that happened to you that day. It’s not important that you say something profoundly meaningful. You can talk about a challenge you faced at work or a nice walk you took at lunch time. Telling your story allows your child to share in your joys and learn that everyone faces challenges. More importantly it opens up space for them to share their feelings with you.
Giving children time and space
Sometimes kids need a little extra time to open up. In his 2005 TED Talk, Carl Honore, author of the book In Praise of Slowness, talks about how fast-paced life has become and how that can be a challenge for young children. He shares the story of his experience reading stories to his own children and how, once he stopped trying to rush bedtime, his relationship with his kids improved because they had the time and space to really open up. After you’ve shared your story, ask open ended questions and encourage your child to share something from their day.
Find what works for you
Building time into your routine and sharing with your child has many benefits. It gives them the space to share their own fears and joys but also helps them develop resilience by giving them a healthy example of how to deal with life’s hurdles. They will also be comfortable coming to you for advice in the future. Kids love hearing stories, especially about their parents, making it a great opportunity to weave in some life lessons.
How do you take time to share with your kids? Post a comment and tell us about your story.