We have asked a lot of questions to a lot of parents regarding what do you do to ensure that you have a great time with your children?
Unfortunately, we are met with either a lot of silence or the response that parents mostly just try and keep their kids busy. Sometimes parents just give up and give in to the situation where they can’t wait for the vacations to end and the kids to go back to their regular schedule; frustrated with the constant exuberant energy. All those parents want then is to be free again.
Research says that even if your child has a very high IQ, if they don’t feel good about themselves, deep within then that IQ is of no value. If a child does not have sufficient EQ (emotional quotient) or discipline then that brilliant IQ is of no use.
When we send our kids to different classes and spend time developing their extracurricular skills, they tend to develop their IQ as well as their EQ. How about this summer, by doing things which help us bond with them, we ensure that the children’s’ EQ also goes up beautifully.
We are going to share with you a few thoughts, tips and tricks which will help you in having a phenomenal quality time with your children.
Have conversations in a way where you can have enough chances to say ‘Yes’ to your child. Children grow up to hearing a lot of ‘No’ from their parents.
Now, think about your conversations with your child. Some research says, there is about a 9:1 ratio. For every ‘Yes’ we say, our kids have to hear ‘No’ nine times. This can have an adverse effect on the child.
Children start to believe that they are not smart enough. They start to think that their parents don’t understand them. They may also think that if they ask something gently, they won’t be getting what they want.
On a very subconscious level, in a very subtle way, it makes the child indisciplined or it makes the child rebel. It either makes the child emotionally weak or it makes the child a little arrogant.
Now as you can see, none of these situations is right for our children.
Think about this:
Your child says, ” Mama it’s about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Let’s go for a swim.”
3 o’clock in the afternoon. Swim? Can you say yes? Not at all.
Think about the conversation going like this.“Swimming? Brilliant idea. Yes, you should go. Swimming today? Another beautiful idea. You should most definitely go.
How about going swimming at about 5 o’clock. Won’t that be a good idea? Yes. I think if you go swimming at five, it will be very nice. The heat won’t be there and the water would be just right. And immediately after you’re done swimming, for your evening snacks, I can make what you want to eat.”
Do you know what has happened now? It was a conversation where you didn’t have to say no to your child. This is a quality conversation and quality time with your child.
Now think about the alternate scenario, where you say no.
“Mama, can I go swimming at 3 o’clock in the afternoon?”
“Are you mad? Does anybody go swimming at 3 o’clock in the afternoon? What will people say? All alone you will swim? What will happen to your skin? You will get sunburnt and all. You have no brains or what? If you said 6 o’clock I’d understand. 3 o’clock? Such a stupid fellow you are.”
The child’s question was simply, “Mama, can I go swimming at 3 o’clock in the afternoon?”
If you had decided to tackle it with yes, it becomes a quality conversation. If you say no, it becomes a low-quality conversation.
So you see, it’s a very beautiful but simple trick. It requires a little alertness but it works beautifully well. So the next time your child asks a question like that, you know how to tackle it.
Having said that, if your mind doesn’t work spontaneously; if you are not able to think of an idea spontaneously, then what to do?
You can always tell the child, “Child, your thought is brilliant, I really appreciate it. Just give me a few moments to think about it and I promise to get back to you.”
And in those few moments, you hurry and think things through- what do I say, what do I do, how can I say yes and make my child understand, how do I not say no.
Today we say ‘No’ nine times and ‘Yes’ only once. Can we say ‘Yes’ nine times and ‘No’ once? I believe we can. And of course, there will be areas where what they are saying is absolutely right and genuine.
“Mama, I am very hungry, Can I have some food now?” It’s 8.30 at night. Of course, you go ahead and say yes.
So this is one trick by which you can have great, superb and quality conversations with a child.
Trick number two of having a beautiful quality conversation with a child is as follows;
Ask more, speak less. Talk less & listen more
The mark of a quality conversation is not telling your child but rather listening to your child.
For example, one of the main complaints children make in the summer holidays is that they are bored.
“I am getting bored, what to do?”
Ask them questions instead of giving solutions. For example, how about handling the situation but asking the question- “Is it bad to be bored?” Let the child keep speaking.
If they say they want to do something, ask them what their options are. If they can’t think of something, ask what they would like. “Would you like to play something? Would you like to sleep? Would you like to learn/draw/watch something?”
“If I was not at home and you were bored, what would you do? What do you think your grandmother did when we as children got bored?”
Maybe you can say this- “How about seeing a few videos or doing some research about the best ways to kill boredom! Or what are the best ways to use the time when someone is feeling bored?” Ask them questions. Let them think. Or buy time.
“You are getting bored? Do something you feel is fun for a half hour and if that doesn’t work then come back to me and we will find something else.”
When parents buy this half an hour, more often than not the child already finds something meaningful to do. This keeps them occupied for another couple of hours.
Science says boredom is brilliant. When a child gets bored, they start to imagine things and look for options or bring two things together to be creative and keep the mind occupied.
In fact, many would say, the greatest things in life are born when we want to do something because we were getting bored.
Another way by which you can have quality conversations with your children are; Ask them about aspects of their lives which you believe can be interesting
Let’s say for example that your child is interested in IPL. You could ask your child, “Child, how is IPL this year different from last year? Do you think IPL is right this or would you make changes if you were the chairman?”
If your child does do-it-yourself projects, ask the child if they would like it to be more challenging or do they enjoy the simple ones. “Do you like things where you put things together or do you like to do the welding and soldering kinds?”
Talk to your children about their friends. “You have a friend Ajay no? How’s it going with him?” “Is there anything that you feel we as parents could help with? In your friends’ lives or your own?”
If your child is interested in fashion,'”Who are you interested in with regards to fashion today? What makes them stand apart from the rest of the world? What do you like most about that fashion style?”
Cover philosophy or ideology.” What is a good friend to you? How do you know that someone is a good friend?”
Life lessons need not necessarily be told verbatim to children
When we ask children for their opinions, you will find that sometimes ninety percent of the life lessons you wish to give them, they have already understood and realized. Appreciate that and fill in just that remaining ten percent.
Your child will feel very confident. Your child will believe that you believe in them. They will understand that even if they lose a friend or two out there, they will have you. They will believe that they can still have these fantastic conversations with their parents.
One of the greatest things that happen at home- the strengthening of bonds and relationships.
When relationships at home are strong, in case something goes wrong in the world outside, your child will feel sad but will bound back fast. They will be secure in what they have with you. Your child will still cry, but they know that they have fallback options. Your child will still miss some friendships but they will carry on in their lives without sulking in the corner, giving up or remaining depressed.
So this summer, use every occasion that you have to build fantastic relationships with your child. Do this, by having a quality conversation with them, morning, afternoon, evening and night.
And remember, if you can reverse that ratio to one ‘No’ and nine ‘Yes’, that is going to be phenomenal. It’s going to be a challenge to you and it’s not going to be easy but you and I as parents need to excel in this.
When we do that, we will feel very fulfilled. Twenty years down the line when you see your children interacting with their children and they are doing well in their lives; I am telling you, your personal achievements will become insignificant compared to the pride you feel on seeing them doing well in their lives.
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Also read: Top 5 Parent-Child Bonding Activities#parentinggyaan