What is the best thing to say to your child when they come home from school, to understand how they really feel and what they are thinking? “How was school?” Doesn’t usually elicit much of a response! Are you a parent or connected to a child and would like some guidance on how to better communicate and listen so children are more inclined to talk and share feelings?
Tuesday week, (the 11th of May) is the first session of the Genos Spotlight Series, featuring Rachel Vecht, the founder of Educating Matters. In her session titled: “Emotions Matter: How to Listen so Kids Will Talk”, Rachel sheds some light on the importance of being aware of children’s emotions and acknowledging their feelings. Rachel draws on her experiences as a school teacher but also the real, everyday experience of being a mother to 4 children and the challenges of integrating work and family.
What will the session be about?
We all know how hard it can be to get a child to talk about their emotions. They come home from school and when you ask how it went you might get a shrug of the shoulders, or if you’re lucky, maybe a two or three-word answer; ‘it was fine’. Then, you might ask yourself, ‘well how am I supposed to know what they’re feeling when they won’t talk about it?’ The answer may be in the way we are showing up to them.
“All behaviour is a form of communication, and our job as parents is to chase the why – and search for the emotions that are driving the behaviour – so we can interpret what our child is trying to say.”
We need to get better at encouraging the children in our lives to talk, rather than shout or ignore us or whatever their first response might be.
In this session, learn how to help children develop emotional literacy and some practical tools to support children’s emotional well-being. In today’s society where there are increasing concerns about children’s mental health, using emotion coaching will enrich communication and the relationship between parent and child. As their parents and carers, we need to be aware of the best way to encourage children to talk, for example, if their behaviour is a child’s way of trying to express their emotions, we need to be careful in how we deal with these situations.
Check out the video below to see Rachel in action, discussing how and why children sometimes show their emotions through their behaviour.
It can be difficult for everyone to deal with emotions, no matter their age. When we are exposed to a stressful situation, it triggers our fight or flight response. The logical part of our brain is hijacked when it would be most useful. Now imagine you are a young child starting into a new school, with no idea what your teacher will be like, whether or not the other kids will be nice or even where things are. It can be extremely overwhelming.
Now, this is a pretty obvious example, we know that any behaviour like crying or giving out is likely their way of expressing that they are worried or scared about something so new. But what about when they’re older and they don’t tell you everything that’s going on in their lives? All we see is the behaviour but not the why. In these cases, while you don’t have to agree with the behaviours your child might demonstrate, it is important to validate the emotions they are trying to express and make them feel heard and understood. That way they know that no matter what, they can express their feelings to you in a safe environment.
To learn more about ‘How to Listen so Kids Will Talk’ sign up for Rachel Vecht’s Spotlight Series session here. You can also check out her website Educating Matters to learn more about Rachel’s work and for more content about parenting, mental health, diversity and more.
ABOUT THE GENOS SPOTLIGHT SERIES
The Genos Spotlight Series is a monthly masterclass program where we invite you to join real conversations and gain insight for tackling the challenges of today. Featuring discussions and practical advice from an eclectic and talented group of specialists, authors, consultants and trainers – we’ll be diving into some of the difficult topics, having brave discussions and providing you with thoughtful advice and techniques to apply in your everyday lives. Join us for Genos Spotlights on sleep, parenting, emotional intelligence, living with purpose, self-confidence and more.
ABOUT RACHEL VECHT
20 years ago Rachel founded ‘Educating Matters’ to provide guidance on inclusion, changing cultures and bespoke training (through varied formats such as seminars, webinars, workshops, 1:1 coaching, resources & videos). She works with Diversity & Inclusion, L&D, HR teams, Employee Benefits and internal networks to engage and support employees (with a special focus on parents & carers). Supporting and enhancing the wellbeing of employees, enables them to be more focused, productive, empowered, loyal and motivated. Educating Matters’ extensive global client list covers a wealth of different sectors including banking & finance, legal, retail, accounting, tech, construction, media, pharmaceuticals, utilities and recruitment. Topics include: educating children, positive parenting skills, integrating work and family, neurodiversity, allyship, LGBTQ+, disability, mental health and wellbeing.