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When You “Cue” Your Kids for Talk Time—Our Talking Song
“Talk to me; show me that you care. Talk to me; listen to the words I say. Talk to me; there’s so much we can share. I know you love me when you talk to me.”
I can still sing it from memory. And so can my kids. It was our talk song. And now I am crying.
Years ago we used to listen to a “cassette” that had this catchy, heart-warming song on it about talking. The chorus was that “talk to me” line above. I wish you could hear it being sung as it is so sweet.
Like a lot of things that we heard, read, or watched together as a family, it became part of us. And we used it…over and over and over again. And never tired of.
Do you state more than ask? Do your sentences to your children almost always end with a period rather than a question mark? If so, you might need to learn the lost of art of asking questions to build relationships (with your kids and others!).
Many years ago we were introduced to the concept of teaching like Jesus taught. We have since delved into that further, realizing that Jesus was not only a model of how to teach concepts to our children, but he was also the epitome of relationship building with people. This has helped us in our parenting and discipling of our children in general (not just in “teaching” or homeschooling). Continue reading →
Besides the “techno free” zones and “sitting in your house” that I described in earlier posts, drive time has come to be a meaningful talk time for our family. (See Who’s Got Their Shoes On? for more one-on-one vehicle talking tips.) In this drive time post, I just want to encourage families in general to reduce the “independent” times in the vehicle and make drive time more “community” time.
What is a techno-free zone today? I remember when we would have our nightly living room meetings with our teens and pre-teens before they went to bed at night. We only had a television on a cart in our bedroom closet that we would pull out to watch things together as a family. We had one desk top computer in the dining room—an open room between the kitchen and living room. And that was it. Period.
Techno-free zones were easy to come by for us.
It got harder as the kids got older. We eventually had to declare techno free talks—phones off, etc.
WHEN YOU “SIT” IN YOUR HOUSE—PREFERABLY IN A TECHNO-FREE ZONE
Out of all of the times/places that we are told to teach our children diligently in Deuteronomy, “when you sit in your house” has got to be the most challenging. Over twenty-five years ago, Gregg Harris gave us the greatest advice in his parenting seminar (that we have used weekly and teach others to do the same): Whatever is important to you to do with your children should be attached to something that is already in the schedule. Thus, we attached reading together to rising/going to bed; we attach family prayer to meals; etc. However, finding time to “sit in your house” is another matter—and one that I would like to address as a talk time in this blog post.
In the last “talking” post, I described a time in which talking isn’t needed at all. (You can read that here.) Those times are not all that frequently, however, since usually our kids have wanted our input, advice, and help. (And if they didn’t want it, they probably really needed it, so it was up to us to find a way to make it happen.)
To balance that “just listen” vs. “give too much input,” we came up with a solution that has become a popular buzzword in our home.
The scene was the same for our three girls and Mom and Dad—time to gather in the living room with calendars in hand, ready to go over the upcoming weeks and months to be sure we have everything down on the schedule—and to be sure that we have plenty of time set aside for each other and our family. What wasn’t the same was the addition of our future son-in-law—a sweet, amazing young man who has no need for meetings, sitting for long periods of time listening to three teenage/young adult girls and their parents gab. His response to our “calendar meeting” was hilarious as he put a pillow over his head and kept coming up periodically to ask if it was almost over!
When our older kids turned twelve (girls) or thirteen (boys), they began to have a special privilege known as “half birthday dates.” At the 12 ½ (or 13 ½) year old mark, that child got taken out to dinner with Mom and Dad for a unique dinner date.
One of the places in our home in which lively discussions were usually held (and continue to be so, especially when all thirteen of us are home together!) is the dinner table. There is a lot of talk online and other places about the importance of the family dinner table. I am so grateful that we took the time to be sure that we ate four or five meals a week together in the evening—around the table.
Here are some tips to get your family dinner time back—and get your table talk on: