Admit it, or not, but there are moment of silence when around our children. And everyone is different. Some enjoy those moments, marking the memories in their brains for recollection later. Others scramble to fill the void with frivolous banter.
But here are two tips for chatting with your child in the most constructive manner possible, and a little memory game to round out your evening.
To make chats more meaningful:
- Phrase questions thoughtfully. Questions that require more than a one-word answer will lead to more informative answers. Try “What made you laugh today” rather than “How was your day”.
- Show your paying attention. It’s easy for busy parents to respond out of habit without focusing on what youngsters are really saying. Instead, look your child in the eye. She’ll know that what she has to say, matters to you. This happened to me just last night. A full school day, a rare family dinner out at a really loud restaurant, and when we got home, my brain was fried from the noise and that whole work day ahead of it. My five year old wanted to describe his playing with a miniature skateboard to me, telling me what all the tricks were. Except he could tell I wasn’t focusing on him, and he asked me to “look at this”. . Kids want the focus. They want the eye contact. It means a lot.
- And that memory game which may just take you into the evening without needing any tv. Well, researchers say that “working memory” is defined as “a system for temporarily storing and managing the information required to carry out complex cognitive tasks such as learning, reasoning, and comprehension”. So this is the part that’s important.
- Build a story chain. One person starts with a sentence like “I’m riding a ___ to the ____”. Filling in the blanks. The next person repeats the sentence saying “I’m riding a bicycle to the supermarket”, then adds his or her own sentence. Continue on until someone skips a sentence, says them out of order, or can’t remember one.