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I’m the kind of person who gets caught up in my day. All too often I wake up to kids climbing on me (you know the feeling…), drown myself in coffee, run around like a crazy person and crash into the lounge at night to try and spend a moment with the husband before falling asleep and getting ready to do it all again the next day.
Our days rush by us so fast. I swear I look at my son sometimes and wonder when on earth he started growing up.
So, in an attempt to regain focus with him and to centre myself back into our family life and into the moment, instead of living in a state of ‘rush’ all the time, I started having more conversations with him that weren’t just superficial. Instead of just asking him to do his homework or put his clothes away, I started to take time to sit down and talk with him.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, the kid still has to put his stinky socks in the basket and I still have to ask him 20 times to eat his dinner, but we take time to actually sit and talk now, and it’s wonderful.
These are some of the questions and conversations we’ve been having, as well as why I’ve asked the questions and what I’m learning from the answers.
Hopefully, you can try some of these out too and take some time to connect. You could even record the answers or set up your phone to record a video of the conversation. So sweet.
1 – What Has Been Your ‘Best Bit’ Of Today?
I have to admit, my husband actually started asking our son this when he was tucking him into bed at night. I’d listen to them talk about their day and it was such a sweet and happy way to end the day.
Nights are always chaotic, with dinner (and asking my son to put more food in his mouth 234987234 times every night), bath, stories, and all the things that happen at bedtime. This was such a sweet way to ensure we ended the day on a positive note.
It’s also really interesting to hear what our son considers to be his ‘best bit’ of the day. It really gives me insight into what is important for him, and helps alleviate some of that mom guilt. Often I feel guilty that I haven’t played enough, hugged enough, focused enough… when really, it rarely ever hits his radar!
2 – What’s Your Favourite Thing To Do With Me and Why?
I love this question because it’s always changing. For a long time, our son’s favourite thing was to go to the park. Now it’s to go and eat sushi and watch a movie at the cinema.
We went on a ‘Mommy & Son’ date a little while back and I asked him to pick what he wanted to have for dinner. Of course, he chose the Sushi Train. It could have been anything, it didn’t matter. The point was that he got to choose.
Something so simple has now become his favourite thing.
This question has also allowed me to gauge how much connection my son is needing. Some days he will say that his favourite thing to do with me is to cuddle, and on those days I know I need to spend more time with him because he needs me.
3 – What Makes You Happy?
Kids are so funny. What makes them happy can range from chocolate cake (that sugar high can go to Nanny’s for the afternoon, thanks) to playing with Lego or just about anything in between.
But, being able to communicate what it is that makes you happy is a skill many adults don’t even have. Which is why I want to be able to teach my kids to be able to reflect a little on themselves and determine what it is that makes them happy.
Think about it, what makes you happy? Like, truly, genuinely happy. Many mothers will say their kids make them happy, or their husband. But you are YOU as well as a mother and a wife, so you need to know what it is that makes you happy. See why it’s so important?
Plus it’s fun hearing what makes your kids happy, and it gives you ideas for where you should be focusing your time with them.
4 – If You Could Spend A Day Doing Anything You Wanted, What Would It Be?
Depending on the age of your child, and their answer to this question, this could give you ideas for what to do with them on special occasions or as a treat, or even for a day when you just want to spend time connecting with them.
When I asked my son this question one time, he said he wanted to spend a day watching movies, eating popcorn and cuddling me. I realised I’d been spending days working and doing all of the busy life things, and I had misjudged his needs. As he has grown up he has been so much more independent, and sometimes I forget he needs this downtime too, just like we do.
So we made it happen. I was pregnant at the time so I was happy to just make a big nest on the floor with blankets and pillows and binge watch the Harry Potter series (his choice, it made me so proud). We ate popcorn and cuddled and had such a wonderful day.
As with most of these questions, the answers really do give you insight into what your child needs from you at this point in time.
5 – What Makes You Sad?
This is not a question I ask often, because we tend to focus on more happy and uplifting topics, and my heart can’t handle the sadness, but there is a reason I ask my son this question now, when he is just 5.
I firmly believe that communicating with parents is a habit and a behaviour that needs to be formed and nurtured early. It is my hope that by asking him questions like this now, and with him getting comfortable with answering them now, as he gets older, he won’t have any hesitations still answering them.
I know this isn’t foolproof and I’m sure there are reasons why it may not work, but as a parent, I’m trying to do what I feel is reasonable and logical and what makes sense to me and this makes sense.
If my son is comfortable enough and confident enough to tell me what is making him sad when he is 5, 6, or 7, then I hope he will continue to be comfortable and confident enough to tell me what is making him sad when he is 15, 16, 17.
In order to ensure he is comfortable and confident in telling me, I also need to make sure my responses to his answers are reasonable. I don’t laugh, I don’t tell him that it shouldn’t make him sad, and I don’t downplay his emotions. What he feels is real for him and I acknowledge it, tell him he is loved and we talk about ways to improve the situation.
6 – What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?
I love how these questions can allow our kids imagination to fly and it also shows us a little insight into their perspective of the world.
Right now, my son wants to be a Paramedic, like me, because he said he wants to help sick people. He is such a kind and caring person and even asks to learn about the human body so he knows how to be a Paramedic. Too cute!
I’m sure over time his ideas of what he wants to be may change, but his answers allow me to show I support him and offer to help him learn new things because he knows he gets to choose what he wants to do when he grows up.
7 – What Do You Think Makes Me Happy?
This is the cutest question and again, it just amazes me at how little minds work. There’s always the standard answers a child will say to this, like ‘when I behave myself’ or ‘when I make my bed’, but sometimes there are little gems like when my son answered ‘when you see Erika [his little sister] and I play’ or ‘when you pick me up from school’.
I love that this question allows him to start thinking about what happiness is for other people too, and how he can play a role in that. He is just a kind and compassionate person and it’s often reflected in his answers.
We can learn so, so much from our kids just by asking them questions. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve overthought something and have been worried I’ve upset my son or hurt his feelings and it hasn’t even hit his radar. Kids are incredibly resilient and have such an interesting perspective on things.
These little conversations have started to become a highlight of our days and my son even asks me to ask him questions when we sit down to eat dinner now.
Opening the lines of communication is a skill and a habit I wanted to start early and hopefully by asking him these questions and having these fun conversations, we are doing just that.