In a world consumed busy with schedules of work, school, social activities, family and technology, we need to remember the importance of dialogue and face-to-face discussions with our kids and young adults. Helping them develop conversational skills, self-awareness and articulation skills are important aspects of development and success. Here are some things to say and ask that can help your conversations with your kid!
"I love watching you play (or perform!)"-
Sports and performances are a big part of high school, and have a big impact on our students. Make sure your conversations about them are empowering and supportive. You can use this statement for any kind of performance in which your child is involved.
"What happened at school today?" -
When we begin our conversations with our young adults, we can ask open-ended questions to help facilitate the discussion. We all know what happens you say ask, "how was school today?"... we usually get a one word answer. Try this new question instead! Or, here are some other options:
Tell me about your day
What did you learn today?
What did you struggle with today?
What fun did you have today?
What did you learn that would be useful for me to learn, too?
"Tell me more." -
If you ask open-ended questions, listen fully, and refrain from adding your opinions unless they ask (we know this is hard!). You will learn a lot about their interests, experiences at school and their overall view of the world.
"I love how hard you work."
- Success is correlated to effort, practice and perseverance. Though we may think this, it is not always correlated with being smart or talented. If your child is having a difficult time with school, remind them that they are resilient and can learn if their effort is strong. Some things to say (don't give them the answer; letting them figure it out on their own builds confidence and resiliency):
How might you do that differently?
Where do you think you could find that information
"School is your job."
- Remind them that school is their job, put in the effort and do it well. This is a more powerful approach than thinking they will love every class, teacher or experience, and reminds them that life is not fair, and as soon as we stop thinking it should be, we have an advantage over the circumstance and can adjust and approach as needed.
"I like you
." - Chances are your kid(s) know you love them, if you tell them that. It is also important to let them know you like them as a person and enjoy spending time with them. If they know you like them, they are more likely to have stronger confidence, and we know how important self-esteem is for the "success" puzzle.
"What makes you a good student?"
- Let's help them increase their self-awareness! This is important for a few reasons; learning and being remarkable. If we do not reflect on our abilities, we miss out on learning from mistakes and being our best.
"Be your best self
." - Early on, your child may not fully understands what this means, but as they get older, they will settle on what it means, specifically for them.
"Notice who might need a friend today."
- Being on the outside is a lonely place. Not being included can lead to a sense of not belonging, which can be devastating. This is something we can all easily change. If we notice someone is missing out on a conversation or activity, simply inviting them to join makes all the difference. Most kids know how to be thoughtful to others; but as adolescence can be a tough time, they may just need some reminding.
"Be kind to someone today."
- Kindness and compassion are something the world needs, all the time. Let's teach our kids these valuable characteristics and let them be role-models and leaders within their school.