Each time we engage our children, we can use a few techniques to add more quality to our interactions.
When we chose quality over quantity, use teachable moments, and ask open ended questions, we see a tremendous difference in our children. We can use these strategies to make our interactions even more meaningful.
Quality over quantity is always a huge discussion with families.
This is because the balance is different for every parent and child. Some parents can stay home with their children, and some parents recognize that spending time away from their children makes their time together higher quality.
Finding the right balance of time together and time away from your children is something only you can determine.
When you are engaging with your children being able to give 100% of your attention to them is very important. Being focused will help your engagement be much more rich. When we can focus on our children, we can see the whole child, and speak to them that way. It’s nearly impossible to cook dinner, care for siblings, and have high quality educational discussions with our children.
Your child will recognize, and appreciate, when you give 100% of yourself to the teachable moments.
What is a teachable moment?
It is any time we take the time to discuss behavior, boundaries, or how the world works. When we hold open a door for the person behind us we can teach our child to use their strong muscles to hold the heavy door. These are concepts of physics, and gross motor skills. We can then use our critical thinking skills to assume that the person behind us also wants to come through the door. We can foster empathy by holding the door for them. Our social skills strengthen by telling the person “you’re welcome” after they thank us.
This is a dramatic difference to your parent holding open the door, and shuttling you in.
When we articulate more of what’s happening we get to help our children strengthen so many skills.
Another layer deeper is to ask open ended questions during these teachable moments.
Instead of asking if the door heavy we can ask “How does it feel to hold that big door?” You might have a variety of responses beyond the weight. Maybe it’s cold, maybe they feel proud, asking an open ended question lets us hear more responses.
When we open up discussion we allow our children to talk about what they want to talk about.
We don’t prompt their answers, and instead get to hear how they really feel. When someone asks you a question with only one answer, it doesn’t feel as good as an open ended questions where you get to take the conversation where you want. Our children feel the same.
There’s no age limit to this techniques.
They easily gear up and down for the development and interests of your children. Move slower in your daily life, and really value the teachable moments as they arise.