Advantages of tuning in to your kids

by Mary Ann on November 17, 2010

puppet making at home picture

Tannin & Ash with their puppets

Let’s continue our conversation about the advantages of being present.

4. Being present helps you focus on special projects and learning

Your children want you to be there if they need help with a project and they want you to applaud their efforts when they are done. But don’t help too soon or two much. Tannin is 10 and Ash is eight. One day their mom put a book on puppet making in the Closet. Tannin is a project girl. She loves projects. There was also a sewing box of odds and ends, material, yarn, buttons and so forth. Tannin decided to make a puppet after reading the book. She took an old sock and created Goldilocks. She didn’t ask for any help. She figured everything out by herself, including looped hair.

Ash wanted to make a puppet also. He watched his sister and then copied what she did. He wanted to make Superman. He didn’t ask for any help until he got to the eyes. He didn’t know how to sew on a button. So he asked his mom and she showed him how to do it on one eye. He did the other eye himself. Then he asked for some ideas on how he could make a cape and attach it to the puppet. His mom gave him some ideas and then he decided what to do and did it. They were both very proud of their puppets.

5. Being present helps you know what your children are interested in.

It’s important to respond to every opportunity to follow up on your children’s budding interests. Being present gives you time to hear them talk about what they are interested in. If you are listening you will get lots of ideas for inspiring content for your Closet.

kid learn play chess picture

Learning Chess

6. Being present allows you to engage in familiar conversations

I love this quote by George Turnbull: “By familiar conversation, children’s curiosity may be roused much more effectually, and by it they may be taught a great deal more in a little time, than can possibly be done in the austere magisterial way of calling them to a lecture.” George Turnbull, 1742

In short, a spontaneous conversation between parent and child teaches more than the best lecture.

mom daughter talking picture

Have “familiar” conversations

7. Being present applies to life.

If something is a principle it always applies in life. When you talk with a friend on the phone do you send email at the same time? When you are listening to what a child is trying to tell you do you look at them or do you just keep working and say mmmm occasionally. When your wife is talking with you are you replaying a situation from work in your mind?  It’s a bit like eating meat without salt, something important is missing and the experience is bland. People know when you are present and when you aren’t, especially children.

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