Are you ever driving somewhere or doing something in the kitchen while your kids are talking to you? You hear their voices, but you aren’t really listening to what they say. (Please tell me you do, otherwise I’ll feel like a bad mom.) It happens to the best of us. But sometimes when we really listen to what our kids are telling us, it can help us guide them in healthy directions.
Case in point:
- A few weeks ago, after I’d dropped one kid off at soccer and another at play practice, I asked Kid #3 what kind of activity he thought he might be interested in. “Do you want to play soccer? Gymnastics? Swimming?” “No. No. Nope” was the response. “Well, what kind of activity do you want to do?” His answer: “Sit on the couch and watch TV.” His very honest answer reminded me that I need to encourage him to go outside and play and to engage in physical activity, even if it’s not an organized sport.
- My very theatrical, but not athletically inclined daughter, has mentioned a couple of times recently that she really likes to run. Maybe now would be a good time to sign us up for a 5k and find a training program online to get us prepared for it.
- One of my kids was practically born wearing a pair of cleats. He’s never met a sport he didn’t like and has asked if he can play lacrosse, rugby and run cross country all next spring. Tonight, he came home from school, sprawled out on the couch and said “I think I want to skip soccer practice tonight. I’m tired.” In the 7 years he’s been playing sports, I can count on one hand the number of times he’s wanted to skip any kind of practice. I could have given him a pep talk and told him how he’d be glad he was there once he got out on the field. But instead, my husband and I decided that he knows his own body and everyone needs a break from time to time.
I don’t think my kids are trying to tell me something all the time. Sometimes they really are just babbling for the sake of hearing their own voices. And sometimes, I won’t go along with what they are telling me because it’s not in their best interest. But by tuning in, I can listen for clues that can help me help them lead healthy lives.