Making space and providing a listening ear for the child who needs extra attention right now
Sometimes our kids just need that little extra bit of attention. Whether it’s that they’re feeling insecure about issues at school, there’s a new sibling in the picture or they just don’t seem like themselves at the moment, usually we as parents can tell there’s something wrong.
They may be acting up, lying, lashing out or else they may have become more withdrawn, shyer for no apparent reason. We all have our low days, but when it becomes apparent that it’s more than just a bad day, it’s time to act.
Showing our kids that they have our attention and more importantly, our listening ear, is vital to finding out what the problem is. If they don’t feel there’s opportunity there to have a proper, uninterrupted conversation without other distractions or life getting in the way, they may not open up about what’s bothering them.
Making space for them to build up to the conversation is important, so we’ve put together a list of things you can do one on one with your child to make them feel heard and seen. Carving out time just for them is essential, especially if there’s a new sibling on the scene.
These are ways you can open up a dialogue with your child or just make them feel supported when they’re going through a low phase:
Take them for a long walk somewhere quiet and peaceful
Start a ritual just for you two – Sunday bike rides, Tuesday Disney movie nights – whatever gives you the opportunity for one-on-one time
Ask them to teach you something – how to do finger painting, make a Lego house – something that makes them feel in control and confident
Let them overhear you praising them to someone else
Let them vent to you over a hot chocolate or their favourite treat
Take a roadtrip somewhere with just the two of you
Take them shopping for either school things, lunch treats they enjoy or even clothes. Whatever makes them feel they have your full attention
Start a book or movie series together
Go on a picnic
Redecorate their room
Ask them about their future – what do they want to be when they grow up, where do they want to travel, what do they want to try? Skydiving? Swimming with Dolphins? Writing a book?
Go out for dinner together
Celebrate little silly holidays – World chocolate day, national picnic day, hug a dog day – any excuse to do something fun!
Camp out in the backyard together
Plant a garden together
Watch old family videos
Have a spa night
Plan a trip as a family, getting your child’s input
Write them little notes to show them they’re loved
Be there at all their events cheering them on