Possibly the most powerful way to step into your role as your child’s first teacher is to build a relationship with your child. This relationship will be the foundation for all learning throughout their life.
How to build a relationship with your child.
I also just want to preface this by saying, these are just some ideas. You know your child best. You are the one that is with them all the time. There are so many ways to build a relationship, and I have full confidence in your ability to do just that. But I also know that sometimes having an actionable to do to start you working toward a goal can be very helpful and empowering. So I hope you use these recommendations as just that. Empowerment and encouragement to be fully yourself in developing a strong, healthy relationship with your child.
1. Look them in the eyes.
Looking your child in the eye when they are talking to you shows that what they are saying is important to you. It also helps you to focus on what they are saying without getting distracted.
2. Get down on their level.
Similar to eye contact, getting down on your child’s level helps you focus on the conversation. It show your child that they are just as important as you. And that they matter to you.
3. Ask open-ended questions.
Open-ended questions are questions that have any number of answers (vs a yes or no question). The answers to these questions can help you know your child better and get a glimpse into their brain and their world.
4. Give them time to respond.
Children do not have the same response time as adults. Pausing to give them a chance to respond again shows that they matter to you. It also allows the relationship to be truly two sided, with both people fully participating.
5. Create meaningful feedback loops.
Do this by responding in a meaningful way + an open-ended question. To read some more science behind back-and-forth conversations with your child, check this out.