Top 7 Ways to Tackle Conversations with your Child about School: Part Two
Part One on ways to tackle conversations with your child in school focused more on the conversation and the child. With mutual trust and respect established, now there is room next for how best to communicate your needs as well. Chores and homework still need to be done and you have a household to manage, by golly!
Part two advocates for you, the parent. We are here to support you as well and your family as a whole unit to grow and progress forward. Notice the way we talk to ourselves and our children determines how they will listen to us and how they learn in school. Let’s dig into the final three steps of the top seven researched various techniques to be effective in communication with your child this school year.
1. Communicate your needs.
More often, parents are overworked or stressed out and may be missing self-care. Assess if you are taking too much responsibility. Try to let go of control and limit tasks that have to be done to a clear, concise two-sentence request. Reminders communicate lack of trust and negativity which will create more resistance. Figure out what few rules matter most to you and enforce these every time instead to be more consistent. In order to feel heard, both parties fulfilling certain duties can check for understanding with positive language and I-statements, such as, “I heard or I would like…” Don’t be shy to share feelings too. “When you do this, I feel… ” is a great way to communicate your feelings. The responsibility becomes less accusatory and a shared goal.
2. Look within.
Focus on being fair and flexible rather than their submission. Children grow to empathize and learn how from parents. They will naturally not be as considerate of you as you think and need you to show them how to do so. Express yourself in a way that avoids anger and blame and gives a clear consequence and insight to your feelings if an outcome is not what you desired.
As adults, we have also learned habits from childhood. Look within to connect to your own feelings and be aware of ingrained habits. Identify what triggers from past experiences that may arise when over-identifying with our children’s problems. Hope for family unity over division!
3. Be honest and belong.
Lastly, honesty is the best policy. Be transparent to yourself and to your child why you want to hear about their day to alleviate their concerns. Children desire to feel of significance and belong to you. However, they will only connect and trust you when they see your sense of self is not dependent on them or their success in school or things of importance to you.
Throughout their life journey, they are their own heroes and need your support and witness.
Prioritize conversation with your children everyday. Try setting a routine 10-minutes of scheduled time together that fosters relationship building. This will also develop their confidence and self-esteem. Keep in mind the different learning styles of your child. A tactile learner may do better at drawing what they learned at school instead of conversing. This goes for activities you plan to do with them. Experiment with various ways to communicate such as one-on-one “dates” that mix in shared interests like music or shopping over conversation. Try not to take things too seriously, have fun and it will pay off in dividends.
School is a significant portion of your child’s day, and we hope the 7 tips in this series provide a pathway for meaningful conversations at the end of the day. May you and your children have fruitful conversations with one another for the upcoming years to come!