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Talking one-on-one

Talking one-on-one


My older two kids are at a day camp this week, which we do one week a summer, so I have only Jayden, my youngest, at home.

Whenever this happens, when I have only one child around, I try to make the most of it. Otherwise it's easy to get lost in a full house, with siblings and grandparents and tenants and homestay students, and it isn't always possible to find time to spend one-on-one, parent and child.

So, this morning we went grocery shopping, which is what we normally do on a Monday morning, but we also went by a coffee shop on the way back, just the two of us, to get him a juice and me a coffee. He sat there on his stool and talked to me for 20 minutes straight, in the way that only three-year olds can talk, jumping from topic to topic, most of it indecipherable through his missing teeth. He talked about whether pirates have moustaches. He talked about the man cleaning up the parking lot with his huge dustpan. He talked about going to see his foster family this week. He also talked about a great many things I couldn't understand. The important part, however, was that he was talking to me, and that he had my undivided attention.

These moments are significant, not because what we talk about is so important (though it might be sometimes, especially as he gets older), but because just being together in this way lets him know that he's important, that I'm willing to hear the things he has to say, that I'm interested in him and in his life.  In the long term, this kind of time also sets the stage for when one of us does have something important that needs to be said, because he'll already know that it's safe to talk with me.

So, the next time you find yourself with just the one child around, pour a cup of your favourite, sit down, and just listen. You'll be surprised how much your kid has to say.