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The 3 best ways to connect with your kids (and your partner too)!

Have you ever felt like your kids are more interested in their friends or Netflix than they are in what you have to say? If so, you're not alone! One day our child can't wait to tell us every single detail of their day, then next we get a grunt and nothing more!

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could keep them talking through the teen years and beyond? The preteen and teen years are a time of discovering independence and desiring privacy. For parents, it feels like a tightwire walk between allowing independence and still guiding towards good choices. So, how can we keep that important connection with our kids while also respecting this new phase they are in? Here are a few easy-to-use tips! 1. Discover your child's "talk time"

Nothing, and I do mean nothing, will shut a kid down more than when we push for answers when they are not ready to chat.

This is when I suggest we pay attention to what I call "talk time." It's a consistent time of day or situation in which our child relaxes and is more open to talking with us. Some kids are really open when we are actively engaged in an activity with them. Side-by-side baking, shooting hoops, taking a walk are times when kids are more willing to disclose their deeper thoughts and feelings. Others like to talk late at night when the room is dark and we go in to say good night. They are relaxed and feeling less self-conscious because there's less eye-to-eye contact. Watch for the pattern, most kids have them! Meet her where she's at, when she's ready.

2. Listen to learn, not to lecture

How often do we "listen" to someone, but in reality we are preparing our response before they even finish their sentence? It's human nature to want to be heard, but as parents, we need to do a lot of focused listening. The benefits: * Our kids will feel as if they matter

* Our kids will continue to come to us with other issues. When we are listening with the intention to learn something, we can't be preparing our response. Our focus is on discovering why the topic is important to our child, not telling him why he is wrong. Go into conversations with curiosity. Listen for "feeling" words, they are a window into our child's experience. 3. Follow up, even on the small stuff! No matter how small we think an issue is, it may be the biggest thing that happened in our child's world that day. Here's a secret: If we follow-up on the small stuff, our kids will come to us for the bigger issues. When we show them we care, they'll feel loved and validated. Don't we all want to be around those who make us feel like we matter? In the end, this is an effort to set up the situation of our kids coming to us during a time in their lives when instinct is telling them to establish independence. The beautiful part of this is that our kids will come to us and be open to guiding them through this period of growing independence if we just make the effort to stay connected. My last tip: These communication strategies work with our parenting partners as well! If you want to strengthen your connection with your kids or your parenting partner, I'm here to help! I offer a low-cost Parenting Strategy Session that will have you walking away with action steps for building bridges in your family! Book your session today! Photo byfauxelsfromPexels

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