It’s after 10 p.m. and my little guy is bubbling over with stories. He’s always talkative, but tonight the conversation is cranked up a notch with video games, inventions, and even time travel. My day started before five this morning and hasn’t stopped since, so I can barely hold my eyes open. I hate admitting this, but everything I’ve learned about what to do with a talkative child can’t help me stay awake on nights like this. A few seconds later, as I lay my head on my own pillow, waves of guilt rush over me for cutting our conversation short.
As moms, we know listening to our kids is important, but sometimes we simply can’t listen as much as they need us to. After all, we have our own needs, too. For those of us with especially chatty kids, here are 4 things to remember about listening to our kids—and 4 things we can do when we can’t.
4 Reasons to Listen
Listening builds trust.
Tuning in for his stories about Star Wars and Minecraft now lets him know he’ll be able to trust you to listen to the bigger stuff in the future.
Listening proves you’re dependable.
Being interested in her big plans, hopes, and dreams now shows her you think those things are important and you’ll be there for her as she starts stepping toward them.
Listening paves the way for communication for years to come.
Learning about his friends, disappointments, and worries now will not only keep you in the know, but it will teach him where to go when things get harder to process in the teenage and adult years.
These are the days we’ll miss.
You’ll never regret stopping what you’re doing and listening to your child. Listening to her now builds great memories both of you can hang onto when she’s grown and out in the world making a way for herself.
4 Things to Do When You Can’t Listen Enough
Talk about it.
If you need to, you can even apologize. If you were tired from working extra to pay an unexpected bill or save up for a fun trip, be honest about that in a light, age-appropriate way. Let her know listening is important, but you’re changing and growing just like she is, and you don’t always get everything just right.
Keep showing up.
Make an effort to listen over and over again. If he feels disappointed you can’t be there for all he wants to share every time, that’s OK. Keep showing up to talk, to do things together, and most importantly, to listen.
Ask great questions.
Asking questions is a great way to show you’re interested in what your child has to say. iMOM has free printable conversation starters about light-hearted topics and heavier ones, too.
Listening is like building strength in a muscle. You may not be able to do everything you want the very first time you work out, but the more you work at it day by day, the easier it will become.
At the end of the day, be gentle with yourself and shower all the love you can onto your chatty kiddo. No matter what you’re going through or what this particular day looks like, you know what to do with a talkative child—listen, love, and start over again every morning.
Do you have a talkative child? What do you do to keep up with all the words?