How many of us have children that we struggle to connect with? Whether they’re 2, 3, 5, 10, or 17, there are times when we just aren’t sure what to say. We aren’t sure how to have a conversation with someone who, while we know them so well, we may not totally understand. I have struggled to find topics of conversation with my 5 year-old who is blossoming into her own little social butterfly. She so desperately wants to talk with me, and sometimes my lack of communication with her leaves me feeling guilty. Guilty because I know that these crucial years of formation for her are being influenced mostly be me. I want to challenge her mind. I want to find out what’s brewing inside of her imagination. I want to ask her questions, and answer her own. I want to know what her opinions are and encourage her in her intellectual growth. I know many parents ask themselves this same question:
How can we smoothly intertwine our unique and unequal minds into a fruitful conversation when we aren’t sure where to begin? There is one method that is easy, efficient, and beneficial to nearly every aspect of your family’s life and relationships. If your mission is to improve communication and to get to know your children on a deeper level while building trust and knowledge, this simple task can literally change your life. Or figuratively, if you’re into fiction.
Read to your children.
When was the last time you read your child a story? How did you read it? What happened afterwards? Were you distracted by your phone, or something else while reading it? Did you allow your child to ask questions or state their opinion about the story while you read? Did you ask them questions about it? Did you talk about the story later in the day or even the next day?
Reading to your children isn’t about the story. It’s about the impact that story has on your relationship.
Stories provide more than just entertainment. When a parent reads their child a story, the child feels loved. No matter how old they are, they feel connected to the parent. They feel excited, engaged, and just, happy. The bonding that takes place between you and your child when you read them a story is like laying bricks around your relationship so that it may better weather the storms of the future. The benefits that are gained ripple into every aspect of you and your children’s lives.
A story provides conversation.
It places you and your child on common ground where you have something to talk about. Even with all of the distractions of today’s world in the form of movies, shows, video games, apps, and social media, children still love to be read to. Don’t believe me? Try it. If you’re not one who really reads to your children, I have an experiment for you to try. Find a book–any book suitable for your child’s age. While you’re in the same vicinity, sit down and start reading it out loud. Watch the magic happen.
It doesn’t matter what my kids are doing. When I sit down to read to them, they gather around with stars in their eyes, excited for the time we get to spend together, for the places their imagination will take them, and for the conversations the story will provide for us.
Are you ready to spend some time together to get to know your child and strengthen your bond? Are you ready to build up your child’s communication skills, confidence, knowledge, and trust in you? Are you ready to inspire your children to love to read?
Are you ready to take the Storybook Challenge?