Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Teaching Children to Share Their Thoughts

Ellie after sharing her thoughts and falling asleep.

As I'm tucking Ellie in at bedtime almost every night she asks, "Mom, can you snuggle with me?"

If I say yes she scoots toward the opposite edge of her twin bed and I lie down beside her. Then she props her head up on her 5 year old hand, looks me in the eye and says, "So, what do YOU want to talk about?"

I always counter, "I don't know. What do YOU want to talk about?" Most nights she pauses or shrugs her shoulders. If I wait a few seconds longer she'll start chattering about whatever is on her mind.

The mind of a 5 year old girl is filled with many thoughts! The day's events, a future activity, a desired play date, and her upcoming birthday all make their way into our current conversations.

I don't consider these topics important, but Ellie does. 

We definitely discussed swimming in a friend's pool!

I also, don't WANT to snuggle most nights. I'm tired and ready for my children to sleep. But, I'm trying to say yes to Ellie's request more often than I say no.

Because one day her mind will be full of truly important topics.

Topics like a boy she has a crush on, her faith in Jesus, and a painful interaction with a friend will all make their way into our future conversations.

So for now I listen to her chatter, knowing that I'm building a habit and confidence in her that I'll always listen.

Do you have snuggle time? How are you teaching your children to share their thoughts and feelings with you?

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Kate @ Teaching What Is Good said...

Great article! Sometimes being a mom requires so much sacrifice for us, doesn't it!? But we have so few years with our children and to build their desire NOW to pour their hearts out to us will pave the way for years later when we make the bridge from Chain of Command to Chain of Counsel.

Very encouraging post.

Anonymous said...

Love this. And thank you for reminding me that if I'm quiet just a minute, my kids will probably start talking.

Amy said...

Working on this! For me, it's more about listening during the day. It seems there is generally at least 1 person talking and I am also generally working on at least 1 thing. I'm really looking for those moments when it's important to stop everything and just listen to my children! Giving them my full attention in the midst of life...thanks for sharing!!!

Stephanie said...

Amy, moments during the day are a whole other story! My kids are constantly talking. But it's at bedtime that I find they share what's really on their minds and hearts.

kristenly said...

i agree whole heartedly. it's so important to listen to the little things now so they can feel comfortabl. the telling us the big things later. great post!

Stephanie said...

Oh my, what a great reminder. It is so easy to put off those snuggle requests. I have committed to doing this more with my kids, but your post has encouraged me to keep doing better! Thanks!

Kristina said...

My daughter does exactly the same thing. She always wants to cuddle at bed time. I have to sometimes remind myself to put other things aside and snuggle with her.

Stephanie said...

My 2 big boys (7 and 9 now) used to ask to cuddle and I told them no so much that they stopped asking. Now I'm trying to start up snuggle time with them again. ESPECIALLY since they are spending more and more time with friends and activities where I'm not present to witness the day's events. It's important to me to know what happened and they don't volunteer those little heart hurts at the supper table.

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