Talking with your children

January 27, 2008 at 12:28 am 1 comment

My AP booklist are discussing Parents Please Don’t Sit on Your Kids by Clare Cherry. I can’t get it here in NZ, but it sounds like a great book.

 In it are some general guidelines for interacting with children. I think they are excellent guidelines, so much so that I am going to put them on my wall so I can be reminded of them every day. In fact I like them so much I might frame them – in gold!

  • Always be sure you have the attention of the children to whom you are speaking.
  • Say exactly what you mean, using age appropriate words.  Use eparate statements if necessary for different ages.
  • Enunciate clearly.
  • Speak slowly and patiently, in a low and gentle tone.
  • Solicit verbal feedback and look for nonverbal feedback.  Don’t go ntil you’re sure you were understood, by asking what the child thinks you aid for example.
  • Listen to what your children say to you.  Repeat and rephrase until yu’re sure you understand.  Give them feedback.  Don’t rush them.  Give encouragement.  Don’t respond until you are sure you understand.
  • Don’t be judgmental.  Don’t base your response on predetermined conclusions but rather on what is said to you at the time.
  • Touch.  A gentle touch while speaking adds emphasis and will improve your child’s ability to recall.
  • Nonverbal messages are also important– demeanor and expression should match your words.  Use the same nonverbal cues you would give guests.  Nod, smile, lean towards them, look at their faces instead of shouting from across the room, attend to them and pay attention when they speak

How many times do we as mothers talk ‘at’ our children, and then act suprised when they don’t listen. I find that if I sit Munchkin (my new blog-name for darling daughter) on my knee and say “Munchkin, look at mummy” then she will listen to what I say and usually co-operate. Yet this simple discpline sometimes feels beyond me, especially when I’m tired or over-wrought. How much of our children’s misbehaviour is just the result of our own misbehaviour?

 In my former life in corporate human resources,  I used to counsel managers to practice pretty much these same communication principles. Managers would ‘assume’ their staff knew what was expected, or had heard what they had said. Managers would forget to ask questions of their staff, and would definately forget to really listen to the answers.

Kids, staff, husbands, parents, friends, bank managers – all respond to effective communication. Its not rocket science, but its so easy to forget to do it.


Entry filed under: Parenting.

Creating nurturing environments for children Menu Planning Monday

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. planningqueen  |  January 27, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    A great list. It will become a great reference for me. Thanks for sharing.


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