“What, Mom?” my son yells back.
“No more Minecraft!” I yell a little louder.
I am agitated now. He must be ignoring me. At full-throttle volume: “TURN IT OFF!”
Has this ever happened to you? Daily, maybe? One of the biggest changes we made as a family was to consciously CLOSE THE DISTANCE – that is, to go close enough where the person you want to communicate with can SEE and HEAR you. It has turned out to be one of the best parenting tips we’ve ever used.
Let’s try a DO-OVER of this scene:
I hear the timer go off. I know it is for my son playing Minecraft on his iPad in the other room. I put down the soapy dish and wipe my hands. I walk calmly into his room.
“Hey, there.” I get his attention, make sure he is looking at me and not the screen. “The alarm went off.”
“Thanks, Mom. I didn’t hear it.” He shuts his program and turns off his iPad.
We both move on easily – dare I say lovingly? – to something else.
(See more on Do-Overs HERE.)
My son really notices now how loud other families can be and he seems to find it disconcerting. Sometimes families sound like they are yelling at one another. They might not be upset – just too far away from one another to speak respectfully.
This is one parenting tool that can help with better family communication – and with children of any age. It’s not just for the kids but for ALL members of your family (pet’s, too!). Try to Close the Distance whenever possible.