The power of saying ‘tell me about…’
The simple phrase ‘tell me about…’ can be a gateway into encouraging your child to express themselves and understanding them better.
As a parent, we know that it is essential to choose our words carefully when speaking to our children. However, it’s not always easy! In fact, it can be really hard not to react and say things that may not be the best for our kids. It’s a good idea to have a few phrases that you can return to and rely on.
OPEN THE DOOR
One such phrase is the simple ‘Tell me about…’ followed by whatever the topic of conversation is, or what you want to ask your little one about. This phrase works wonders when you’re trying to get your child to open up and express themselves.
A healthier alternative
‘Tell me about…’ can be used in all sorts of situations. It can replace other normal phrases and give us a much better understanding of what’s going on in our child’s mind, while also showing them that we’re on their side. Instead of saying, ‘What’s wrong? You don’t seem happy’, try saying, ‘Tell me about your day. Did anything unusual happen?’ In the first example, your child may feel like they’re being questioned and under pressure, whereas in the replacement phrase they feel they’ve been given the opportunity to speak.
Using this phrase is also much better for parents. Remembering to use it makes us pause for thought before we are too reactive. This enables us to come across in a much calmer manner and to transfer this calmness to our children instead of agitating them.
With younger children, ‘Tell me about…’ can be useful in a variety of different ways. If your child has drawn a new picture, lots of parents usually say, ‘Wow! What a beautiful drawing!’, or something to that effect. While this praise is valuable for your children, it doesn’t leave much room for conversation. Consider adding one of the following examples – ‘Tell me about the different colours that you used’, or ‘Tell me about the reasons you decided to draw this.’ This follows up praising their artwork with giving them the opportunity to express themselves. Your child will feel accomplished, valued and encouraged to speak their mind.
With teenagers, the use of this magic phrase changes slightly. While it can still be used at the end of a praising statement to inspire your teen to express themselves, there are further uses. All teenagers experience mood swings and parents can feel completely in the dark when it comes to understanding. Rather than getting frustrated if your teen is grumpy, or anxious if they’re feeling sad, consider sitting down with them for a few moments. Gently saying ‘Tell me about how you’re feeling’, will let your teen know that you’re in their corner. It’s vital to do this in a calm, loving way, so they don’t feel backed into a corner.
‘Tell me about…’ can be used in almost any scenario, happy, sad or anywhere in between. Try it out and, as your child opens up, support them along the way.