- Need organization help? Follow our checklist to create routines that help your child grow and learn.
- Give specific instructions. “Put away the toys on your carpet on the shelf in the closet.” Be consistent — if the toys are stored on the shelf one night, they should be put there every night. Children need to know precisely what you expect.
- Assign tasks that your child is capable of doing on his own. Success builds confidence. The goal is to teach your child to do things independently.
- Involve your child in discussions about rules and routines. It will help him understand goals and teach him to accept responsibility.
Daniel Siegel, MD discusses the importance of presence, attunement, resonance, and trust in developing attachment between children and parents. He is very good at creating handy acronyms, and uses PART to refer to these concepts. His work is amazing and I highly recommend it (see this link: http://DrDanSiegel.com).
As PARTners or PARenTs, our relationships benefit from a daily dose of: a present moment together, with focused attention, to lovingly respond and enhance trust. That is a long sentence but the time it takes to read it, is about as much time as it takes to do it.
I mentioned bravery in the last post. I think kids are really smart and observant about your life and their own. They can ask hard questions about the sensitive or secretive or scary things. You have to be brave to listen to their questions about drugs, sex, death, divorce, cancer, failure, faith, monsters, mistakes, bad luck, bad choices, bad people. It is tempting to dismiss them with a “you’re too young” or “none of your concern”, or “I don’t know”, but they look to you to help them understand. If they are asking, they understand something and it is up to you to help them figure the rest of it out.
Take a deep breath, hem and haw a moment if necessary, and then ask them what they mean. We often react too fast out of our own fears and miss their point if we start talking too much. Give them a moment to clarify their thoughts. Then you have time to register what they are asking, so you can answer the actual question. Especially about the difficult topics, kids want a truthful answer they can understand. They don’t need every detail or caveat, but they need to believe you. If you need more time to think about it, that is OK. Telling the truth can include admitting you don’t know what to say right now, but you will get back to them.