As parents, one of the most exciting things is when your baby says his or her first word, whether that’s “mama,” “dada” or something else.
Over time, some children seem to talk and talk and talk, and the newness wears off. Parents may even wish that their children didn’t talk so much and start tuning them out, paying more attention to their cell phones instead. Other children may not talk to their parents very often, just giving one word answers like “fine” and “yeah.”
Besides learning a few parenting tips from the royal family, we can learn quite a bit from psychologists too.
Psychologists recommend noticing times when your children are willing to talk and initiating conversations with them at these times. According to psychologist Nataliya Sirotich, one of these times is when you first see your child after you’ve been apart for awhile. Examples are when your children get home from school, you get home from work, or even seeing each other after you were just in separate rooms of the house for a little while.
Sirotich recommends the 3-minute rule. Here’s what you need to do. When you first see your child after having been apart, take 3 minutes of your time to hug your child and ask what he or she has been doing while you were apart.
Be genuinely interested. Get down on their level, kneeling or sitting next to each other. Really listen.
You see, children don’t always have a very long attention span or a very long memory, so they’re going to be most likely to tell you about their day in as much detail as possible as soon as they see you. Prepare yourself for this and set aside a couple minutes for this crucial conversation.
If you don’t make time to listen to your child right away, he or she may not be willing to talk later, either because he’s busy doing something else, doesn’t remember as many details about his day, or over time, has lost interest in telling you about his day.
Your conversation doesn’t have to last exactly 3 minutes. The important thing is to spend a few minutes connecting with your child, greeting each other as if you haven’t seen each other in a really long time. By spending this quality time with your children, they will know you truly care, and you could earn their trust even into the teenage years.
Have you been following the 3-minute rule instinctively? If not, do you plan to try it?