How many times have you asked your child a question and you get a very simplest of answers?
Just enough of an answer to get you to stop asking the questions. While I am not a parenting expert per scholarly degree, I am a father to five, wonderful, and sometimes awful children. I have one adult child, three teenagers, and an eleven year old.
It has been through this intensive school of hard knocks training, that I have become familiar in a spectrum of children’s ages and associated difficulties. Here are some of the best ways I have discovered to open communication with my children.
When your child comes home from school, ask them about their day. Do not start with the common question “How was school?” Because you will get the standard reply “Good”. With this answer your child thinks the conversation is over. Instead start with “What did you do in school today?”
If your child is still not really answering the question, my advice is start from the beginning. Ask them what was the first thing that happened when they arrived at school. What was their first class? What did they do in their first class?
When they start talking about what they did, pay attention to what they say. Ask questions about what they did in each class, what they thought about what they learned. Who did they talk to. Ask about their elective classes and their thoughts about them. These are just small ways to learn about what is going on in your child’s life.
Do not accept a single word answer and go back to doing what you were doing prior to the question.
It is important for your child to know you are interested in their life, even if they pretend not to be interested in telling you about it.
Read to your child
Take the time and read to your children. Even if they are older you would be surprised how much they still enjoy hearing a parent read to them. It is also enjoyable for the reader to play out the parts and bring the characters to life. Taking the time to read to your children, from toddlers to teens, will benefit both the child and you.
Help with homework
When your child is working on their homework, sit down with them. You may not have done that type of learning for some time, but more than likely you have learned it before. You never know the ways you can help your child with lessons in school. Your child may never ask for your help, however offer to help them. Get involved and show them you really do know a few things.
Don’t ignore your child’s education. Do not count on the education system to take care of your child education. Teachers are incredibly overwhelmed and do not have the time to help every child that falls behind or is struggling. It is better to catch problems on a day to day basis than to wait for a report card to realize your child is struggling.
Allow some freedom
Give your child some room when they are working on their school work on an assigned or their own laptop. It is important for your child to learn responsibility in doing their assignments on their own. Try not to be the helicopter parent peeking over the counters to make sure they are on task all the time.
Do not completely ignore what your child is doing online. While having the ability to do homework online is great, it does come with a responsibility to stay on task. Check every once in a while to make sure they are not getting offtrack with online distractions. It also doesn’t hurt to check their browsing history or open tabs from time to time.
Encourage your child to be involved in sports. Childhood sports build both body and mind. The exercise helps their young bodies grow and the competition and team comradery help in the social development of your child. Encourage multiple sport to find the one your child most enjoys. Keep involved in your child’s growth in their chosen sport, and discuss practices and games often with them. Take some time and practice with your child. Even if your no good, it will mean something to them.
Don’t be a parent that does not make time for their child. It may be inconvenient, it may be difficult. However no matter how busy you are, your child needs you. Your child wants to be encouraged by their parents. Even if you embarrass them around their friends, deep down they need you.
Don’t forget that you are the most influential person in your child’s life.