Supporting your child
There are lots of ways in which you can support your child with their emotional well-being, but the most important way is to find the time to talk to them and listen to their concerns. These kinds of conversations can be difficult to start so below are a list of questions produced by the charity YoungMinds to help you start conversations with your child. Click here to print off the questions.
- Who are the people you feel safe with?
- If you could change anything in your life what would it be?
- Do you have any worries about starting a new school?
- What are you most dreading this week?
- Is there anything you want to talk about?
- What difficulties are you facing now?
- What are you most looking forward to this week?
- How do you feel about things changing?
- When was the last time you were very happy?
- What can I do to help?
- It's okay to keep some stuff private, but did you want to tell me more about *insert subject*?
- Is there a lot of picking on people at your school?
- What makes you feel calm?
- I can tell that you really like *insert video game/app/tv show/fossil collection*, what about it do you love so much?
- How are you coping since your dad/mum died?
- Is there anyone who is upsetting you?
- Where is a place you feel safe?
- What are you worried about when you lie in bed and can't sleep?
- How do you feel about growing up ? What's exciting, what's scary?
Listening to your child
When was the last time you listened to someone? And when was the last time someone really listened to you? We’re all guilty of not stopping and giving our full attention to our loved ones and friends when they want to tell us something. Quite often, we’ll continue with household chores, watching the TV or glancing at our phones. It is also very tempting, when someone tells us their problems to offer our opinion and advice.
Listening is so much more than hearing. It’s what happens when we not only open our ears, but also our minds and sometimes our hearts, to another person. When we listen, we go beyond hearing words but giving attention to what is being said.
Listening to our children – Top tips
- One of the greatest gifts we can give each other is to listen
- In our busy lives it isn’t always easy to stop what we are doing so we can listen closely to our children and value what they say - but it’s worth it!
- Taking time to listen to our children builds trust and honesty
- If we listen to our children, they will learn to listen to us and each other
When listening to your child, I’d suggest sitting with them in a place without distractions (turn off the television, leave your phone in another room), maintain eye contact, don’t give your opinion or any advice. Listen without interrupting, but encourage them to keep talking with phrases like “uh-huh” and “I see”. Don’t be tempted to jump in with questions or comments, allow for silence to give them the opportunity to explore their thoughts and feelings.