Monday, October 15, 2012

one on one chats with my children


Louise asked me: I would love to know the sorts of things you talk to your kids about in your one on one time with them.

I love a good one on one chat with my cherubs. I find it is essential to keep a good relationship with them and to stay updated on how they are really going. I have to admit it can be very hard to snatch that moment with them as they are often playing with a brother or sister around the house or on technology. But, I try my best and I think it is a big reason why it often takes me so long to get anything done around my house!

How I find one on one moments
Basically, the way that I make it work is that I look for moments during my day, every single day, to spend one on one time with my children. When I am busy doing jobs around the house, if I see a child in a room by themselves, I stop what I am doing and have a quick chat with them. 

I would prefer to have a long chat to them but often all I have time for is a quick chat and I find that even a quick one on one moment works wonders for our relationship. My quick chat often involves: How are you? Anything you want to tell me? Just want to tell you I love you today moment and a hug. I like to finish it off with the reminder that they can talk to me about anything and I am here for them if they need me.

Also, Matt and I, every Friday night take our children out on date nights. I have shared how we do this previously HERE. We take just one child with both of us together. We arrange a babysitter to come over for 2 hours at the same time every week and during those 2 hours we take out a child. For our date nights we go where that specific child would love to go, we keep it simple and we talk. Really talk to them. For those 2 hours they have our undivided attention. Every child in our family knows that they will get their turn and they look forward to going out with us. So therefore, each child in our family get's a date every seven weeks.

Signs and Signals
Understanding the personality of my children is a real key to successful parenting for me. I find it is valuable to almost study them in a way, to know the signs and signals of when they are upset or need to have a one on one chat with me. I remember one experience where this was a great help to me and one of our children.

One day we all came home from school and went through our normal routine. Unpacking bags, having a quick chat together as a family and eating an after school snack. Whilst this was happening I noticed that one of my children was not themselves. They looked normal to everyone else but I could tell that something was not right. When snack time was finished this child went off by themselves. I made sure everyone else was alright and then decided to follow. As I approached my child, they looked up at me with sad eyes and I knew they needed a one on one chat and a hug.

I simply asked them if everything was alright and they immediately burst into tears. After a long hug and a heartfelt chat, I found out that they had been bullied at school that day and we were able to talk about how to deal with it and put a stop to it right away. If I had not of noticed the signs and signals of my child they could have been bullied at school for a lot longer and it could have had devastating effects upon them mentally and emotionally. 

What I discuss in one on one moments
I talk to my cherubs about a range of topics. I don't hold back when I chat to them either. Although, I try to make sure my conversations are age appropriate as there is nothing worse than a young child who knows too much! I kind of pick a topic and try to get around to talk to all the kids about it. Then I move on to the next one and so forth. 

Here are some examples:
School and bullying
Hygiene!
There are natural consequences of making choices in life
The importance of getting a good education
Talents they have and how we can develop them
Changes happening with their body
Dating
How too much technology is killing their brain!
Being a peacemaker in our home
The importance of avoiding pornography at a young age
How it is important to chose good friends
Being thankful for what we are blessed with
How I can't stand lying!
Speaking and thinking kindly of others
Serving and helping family members
Choosing wisely what music they listen to
How to avoid pressure at school to do what they don't want to do
Drugs
It is alright to feel angry at times
The power of prayer
Beauty comes from within 
Thinking good thoughts about yourself
Never tell anyone at school you like someone as they will tell everyone
Saving money
The importance of doing jobs around the house

One day I might write a blog post about how I discuss each of these in our home. Matt and I like to prepare our children for challenges they might face in the real world compared to what they deal with in our home. It is no use pretending that they won't be asked to take drugs, to view pornographic material and even receive horrible text messages. These type of things are happening younger and younger these days and we make sure we talk about them in our home. I would rather that our children heard it from us than from a twisted story from their friends.