As the summer sun begins to set and a new school year peeks around the corner, it’s natural to feel a mix of excitement along with a bit of nervousness and stress. I’ve have been there. I totally get that Back-to-School time can be a whirlwind of feelings for both you and your children whether they’re going back as an elementary student, middle school student, high school student, or college student.
So, as a parent during this season, here’s one way you can you help bring calm and strength to your child’s mind and prepare them for success this school year:
Listen with Love – Something special happens when we take the time to really listen to our kids. You can do this by…
- Creating a Routine Talk Time
Establish regular times for conversations, such as during and after meals or before bedtime. This lets your child know that they can count on having your attention.
- Being Fully Present
When your child wants to talk, set aside distractions like phones, TV, and work. Give them your undivided attention. Show through your body language that you’re focused on them, such as making eye contact and facing them directly.
- Being Patient
Sometimes children might take time to express themselves. Be patient and give them the space to speak at their own pace.
- Active Listening
Show that you’re engaged by nodding, smiling, and responding appropriately. Encourage them to continue by asking follow-up questions or saying things like, “Tell me more about that.”
Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand their perspective. Validate their feelings by saying things like, “I can see why that would make you feel that way” or “It sounds like you had a tough day.”
- Avoid Judging
Create a non-judgmental space where your child feels safe sharing their thoughts and experiences. Even if you disagree, respect their feelings and opinions.
Periodically summarize what they’ve said to ensure you understand correctly. This lets them know you’re truly listening and gives them a chance to clarify if needed.
- Asking Open-Ended Questions
Instead of yes/no questions, ask questions that encourage elaboration, such as “What was the best part of your day?” This helps them share more about their experiences.
- Sharing Your Own Experiences
Sometimes, sharing your own similar experiences can help your child feel understood and more comfortable opening up.
- Using Encouraging Language
Use positive and encouraging words that show you’re interested and supportive. This will help your child feel valued and loved.
- Giving Nonverbal Cues
A comforting hug, a reassuring touch, and a gentle smile can convey your love and support without words.
- Celebrating Achievements
When your child shares their achievements or even small victories, celebrate them. Show that you’re proud and excited for their accomplishments.
- Respecting Their Privacy
While open communication is important, also respect your child’s need for privacy. You may want to give them space when they indicate they need it.
- Showing Consistency
Make sure your child knows that they can always come to you with their thoughts and concerns. Be someone they can rely on for support.
As the summer sun sets on one season and rises on another, remember to enjoy this time. It will pass quickly. Before you know it, they’ll be out of school and starting their own families. The time you have with your kids is precious. Make the most of it!
I’m praying that your family’s bonds will be enhanced by moments of genuine connection that comes from you listening with love. God’s blessings and your unwavering support as a loving parent will provide them with the tools and strength they need to have a successful new school year!