5 Meaningful Ways To Connect With Your Young Kids
What’s your first instinct when you’re faced with a three-year-old child who has burst into tears or isn’t cooperating with you? Is your first instinct to correct their behaviour so that your child will act appropriately?
Remove the adult who tries to rationalise emotions with your kid and think of the situation from a child’s point of view. If you’ve used comments like, “Don’t be silly, there’s nothing to be upset about,” this is for you. This type of language denies their emotions and reduces the importance of your child’s attempts to reach out for emotional support and connection.
Behaviour is a form of communication. Children behave and act out in “inconvenient” ways because they haven’t found more effective means of expressing their feelings and needs. It’s not bad or wrong. Take time to understand their behaviour and what their body language is trying to convey so you can help by providing a safe, and positive way to connect with them.
Listen quietly with full attention. Remove all distractions and put that phone down. 65% of communication is done non-verbally so your kids, and even your partner, will be able to see if you’re fully engaged.
Acknowledge your child’s feelings. Hold back your denial of their feelings and don’t dismiss it. Use neutral words like, “Oh I see.” Couple this with empathy and a caring attitude that will encourage your child to explore their own feelings and thoughts.
Read the situation through a child’s eyes. Remove your adult sense of logic and need for explanation. It is difficult for a young child to answer questions and think constructively when they’re not emotionally or verbally ready. Sometimes, a little sympathy and comfort in a hug goes a long way.
Help your child name their feelings. Equip them with language like, “You sound angry with what happened to your friend.” Acknowledging their emotions and experience helps bring comfort and enables your child to move on.
Create a safe space for communication. Listening with full acceptance, without judgement, sets up a positive environment for your child to express themselves. It builds confidence in them knowing that they have a supportive parent to turn to during their most precious years.
This article was written by Ching Yee.