All through life at different stages, communication is important. When our children are young we talk to them and engage them in conversations, often asking how was their day, what did you do, or what did you learn? Usually you'll get an ear full in the early years and as they grow it becomes a one word response. Good. OK. Alright and from my experience, nothing!. As a parent myself and this is all just my own opinion, I think that it's so important to communicate. To communicate by words, by actions, by writing and by art. While our kids were growing up, I told them that if they couldn't talk to me about something, to write it down, put it in a journal, get it off your chest. I mean after all, we were never young once, right! The truth is that the world has changed and will continue to change, one thing remains the same though, to be there for our family, to do our best to raise our children and to be open minded or you may hit a brick wall.
When I grew up at home, and a parent asked us to do something, we usually did it without arguing. When the rules were in place we usually followed them. In school, the classroom was much different, when we acted out the teacher sent us to stand in the hallway, and if our misconduct continued we were sent to the principals office. Those were much simpler times, families, schools and communities face many more challenges. It's still up to us, the adult to be there, to do our best and to raise balanced children the best we know how. Here are a few ideas on how to get your children to communicate:
1. Try not to judge the situation right off the bat, listen first
2. Be a constant reinforcement to your child of love and trust
3. Create an environment that your child is comfortable with
4. Together, make a journal that the family can communicate in, leave it in a space readily available
5. Let your child make their own journal
6. Provide art supplies, provide writing materials and keep them readily available
7. Read stories on communication to reinforce the importance
8. Make communications fun, don't just communicate during off times
9. Let your children see how you communicate with others
10. Don't shut them out, their thoughts and feelings are important to them
Just to emphasize on number ten, don't shut them out. I speak from experience. No matter how petty you think your child's issue is, trust me, it's huge to them. Let them share it with you, let them communicate with you their thoughts and feelings and you will build from there. You're not only building a lasting relationship with your child, you're building trust, teaching all of the above mentioned in the graphic, too.
Believe me when I say that they are listening to you, watching your actions and modeling your behaviors. Again, I speak from experience. When raising our children, my husband was a carpenter and home as much as I'd have liked. I was home with them all day long, and I wouldn't have changed a thing. But, to communicate to my husband how it was, I explained it like this:
"You leave for work to remodel a kitchen, or build something. You can stand back at the end of the day and see the progress that you've made. I am building all day long with our kids and I have no idea what the results will be." He understood this rather than saying, "Oh my gosh" on an off day.
This is my first book that was published, the message is more important than ever. we need to teach our children that we are different is some ways because we're unique, but, we're all the same inside, teach them diversity, teach them not to stare at a person who is a different color, handicapped, etc. we're all in this together........here is the content inside and I hope you share it with your children and that you feel the same.............
Will you be my friend,
I really am no different,
than him or even her....
.I listen with both my ears, do you?
I really am no different, than you, or you, or you
I use my mouth when I need to chew. do you?
I taste with my tongue and I hear with my ears
When water comes down from my eyes I call them tears,
I really am no DIFFERENT than those kids up on the hill,
I use my fingers to throw
and catch with both my hands, do you?
I really am no DIFFERENT
than that boy by the well
I use my nose when I want to smell!!
I really am no DIFFERENT...
Than those kids over by the tree
I use my eyes whenever I want to see!
I really am no DIFFERENT,
I make wishes up the evening stars,
And catch lightning bugs to put in jars
I love to sing to my favorite songs,
And my heart will break if we don't get along
I'd like to have lots of friends,
Some of every rainbow color
Just so they like me, too
And if you are challenged,
that makes you important indeed
Won't you be my friend?
Available on Amazon
How do you connect with a child? It's not as easy as one might think. When you're a parent you want nothing more than to have open and clear communications with your child so that they trust you enough to come to you in any given situation that life hands them. It's not as easy as you think. When you're an aunt or an uncle, how are you connecting with your nieces or nephews? As a grant parent, how are you connecting with your grandchildren? This is a question you may have not given much thought to, one may just figure they are connected with their child and what is the big deal? Such is life, and no two children are the same. Children don't look the same, act the same, like the same things, learn the same, grow the same, speak the same, or even see life the same. I was so happy when I met Sarah Rosten, the Director of Pediatric Interactions and her staff. They know how to connect with children and children respond, learn and grow through them and the service they provide. Characters of Character is proud to know them and offer our simple resources to connect with children. It takes a village were words once said, it takes a connection to know what goes on in those beautiful little heads....I can speak for myself when I say that I am a visual and hands on learner. Some learn through books and discussion, others through art, some through communications, we don't all learn the same. Pediatric Interactions knows how to connect and we were so excited to learn that they use the Characters of Character. I'd like to introduce you to them:
As speech-language pathologists, our job is to help kids have meaningful and successful relationships with the people in their lives. We do this by teaching kids how to better understand spoken and written language; express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly; and to understand and respond to the social world around them. Characters of Character provide us with a way to teach these skills to young children in a fun and meaningful way with kid-friendly characters. We love to use books, visuals, and crafts to teach new concepts and keep kids engaged. Character of Characters has activities and resources on the website for therapists, teachers, and parents to introduce and review character traits with Manners Monkey, Behavior Bear, Do’er Duck, Friendship Frog, Healthy Hippo, Respectful Rabbit, Responsible Rabbit, Self-Esteem Elephant, and Warm-Hearted Walrus. Characters of Character promotes strong values that young children can learn and carry throughout their lives. By learning and demonstrating the values of behavior, friendship, perseverance, friendship, healthy habits, manners, respect, responsibility, and kindness, children can better connect with others. Connection is what it’s all about and why we do what we do! Alyssa Amidei, MS, CCC-SLPS/L (speech/language pathologist)
The most important thing to remember is to not compare your child with others. As a twin, we were always compared to one another in progress. I have a twin brother. From the beginning of time we learned at different times, in different ways. For example, my twin brother began walking at nine months old, I was almost a year and a half before I walked. We ate the same foods, have the same parents, the same environment, etc. Still, we all learn different and at different times. It's just important that we learn.
Self-Esteem Elephant is here to say: "BE PROUD OF YOURSELF" each and every day. How do you do this? How do you teach your children to be confident and have self-esteem in who they are, what they do, how they carry themselves? Self-Esteem Elephant has helped build confidence in our children for years, through literacy, through communication and through art.
We hope you talk with your child about self-esteem. This Resource Book has simple ideas to teach them:
1. To be proud of who they are
2. That when they have a talent, and, no doubt that they do, share it with others, they'll learn more about you
3. That a smile goes a long way
4. To believe in themselves
Ask your children what they like about who they are?! It may be the first time anyone has and their answers may surprise you! When I was teaching kindergarten I did an activity with the students and they added to the project to build upon who they are and what they liked about themselves. An activity that parents were appreciative of. As an adult, we've come to know the emotions of who we are, what we're good at, where we struggle. When we can build up our children to have confidence and self-esteem, the doors will open!
It's important to engage children in various activities, even if they feel that they're not good enough at them. For example, reading and writing. Or, athletics, art or cooking. We need to let them know that it's part of learning, to keep practicing, be encouraging to them so they want to try things and know what it feels like to be proud of their accomplishments and how far they've come because the had confidence in doing the task at hand. Encourage, Engage and Empower your in good character. This will help them grow and learn through childhood and into their adult lives as well. Here is a youtube video of me, Miss Joni making a paper bag puppet. Be sure to check out our Character Corner for more character building activities! Your child might like to join in! Check out our Positive Affirmation book on Amazon.
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Married with children since 1981. Love working with children and sharing the Characters of Character.