When it comes to spending time with our children, it's important to acknowledge that many of us lead hectic lives trying to balance work and complex family commitments, so it's really important that we don't feel guilty about not spending enough time with our children. Quality is far more important than quantity. Try to set aside a specific time each day during which you engage in activities directed by your child; offer them your undivided attention and let them know they are your priority.
Properly listening is one of the most important ways that we can build resilience. Listening shows your child that you are interested in what they have to say and that you can see the world through their eyes. You don’t have to agree with what they are saying, but listening shows them that you respect them and teaches them self-respect. Here are some useful tips on how to become a good active listener:
· Maintain good eye contact: Place anything that could distract you, such as your phone, out of sight.
· Be alert: Use your facial expressions and body language to respond to what your child is saying. Try to shut out any exterior noises. Try summarising the important things back to your child.
· Watch their body language: Non-verbal communication, such as body language or even the tone of someone’s voice, can help us understand their feelings and emotions.
· Don’t interrupt: Don’t jump in to try to get your point across. Be patient and let your child finish speaking before trying to counteract or respond.
Let your child know that everyone experiences pain, fear, anger, and anxiety – this may even encourage them to open up to you. While children are upset, sensitive listening provides emotional first aid.
However, be aware that young people may need time to themselves and this is something we should respect.