The first thing that I do when I'm involved in supporting a family who wants to bring about change in their household, is to encourage them to do the following:
STOP: Stop and take a time out and relax! Breathe...and do nothing! Get a cup of tea or coffee and sit down and enjoy!
LOOK: Look around at your home environment and your children.
LISTEN: Listen to the conversations amongst your children and/or their playmates. In addition, listen to yourself and the way you speak to them when you interact with your children.
WATCH: Watch what your children do! How do they play or not play? How so they play with one another or their friends? Be the "watchful observer"!
WRITE: Write down what you are seeing and hearing! When you step back and take an overview inventory of the situation, you are then able to make decisions as to what you like and what you'd like to see change.
I recall when my children we young and they'd return home after a week-end at Grandma's or with their Father, I came to know I needed to be very silent and observe where they were at. Sitting back and only speaking to them, when they initiated a conversation gave them freedom to play and to "be" and gave me a wonderful time to observe them in their world...and to see what it was they needed, if anything, from me!
Some questions you might like to ponder..
Are my children happy?
Are my children content playing alone?
Do my children always need me to find things for them?
Are my children self-sufficient at times?
Are my children active or passive during their play? Do they
create their play experience with passive toys/objects...OR are they passive in their play....because their toys/play things are active?
I found that when I stepped back from the situation and observed what was going on, I gained a new perspective of what what needed to nurture peacefulness, cooperative and kindness between the children.
Sometimes, just a small change can make a huge difference in the family dynamics. I invite you to ask a question and listen to what your head is telling you to do. Then, pause and allow your heart to evaluate what your head is telling you to do. Allowing the heart to lead is a gift for all.
Would LOVE to hear your thoughts..and your ideas...
To read my column Listening to Children in the West County Gazette from August 2006 to August 2010, visit: