Hey, Heidi Rogers here with your Three Minute Parenting Playbook tip of the day.
Today, I wanted to talk to you about listening. And the way that you can connect better, listen to your kids better, validate their emotions, empathize with them with my favorite step by step script, which I call M.O.V.E.S. That's the acronym that works for me. And so I wanted to take you through that today.
In specific relation to returning to school I'm hearing a lot of parents say their kids are having a lot of anxiety around that, which makes total sense because it's all about change upheaval and uncertainty and our brains do not like change and do not like uncertainty. So that's why so many of our kids are resisting the idea of going back to school. So what you can do the nights before school, the days before, the morning of, after school, whenever your child expresses some sort of "whatever" about school, "I'm not happy about it, I don't want to go, this has changed. I don't like this," whatever. Anything that you might label as negative, you can use this step by step script. So let's say if they say something like, "I want my old school back, or I like how drop off used to be." So let's say "I want how it used to be" is the first one. We're going to use the acronym moves - M O V E S.
The M stands for mirror. So all that means is you're just going to mirror back to them exactly what they just said, "Mmm, Yeah, you wish it would go back to how it used to be. Mhm."
O stands for "Oh, yeah," like active listening sort of face. Don't be too over the top because they can take it as being condescending. But just looking, listening, being engaged.
V stands for validation. So you're just going to validate whatever it is that they just said as being real. I'm not saying you're agreeing with it. But you're validating it. So saying, what you say is how you feel and that is true for you. So I might say to that, "Yeah. So you're wishing that we were going to have things normal and not how they are now and you're missing how it used to be? Yeah, I can see that. That makes sense. It's hard when things are different."
E stands for empathize. And with that you could say something like, "I know I find it hard too whenever I've had to have something changed, like at work, or when I moved houses, or when my friends changed once, when I was 20. It's hard when things change. Yeah, I hear you." So just empathizing and putting a 'I have some similar story I can relate to with you on this.'
And then S stands for silence, or shut up, or stillness, or hold space, whatever S you want to use for that. S is just "Mm hmm. Yeah, it's hard" and NOT going in to fix it. That's one of the biggest mistakes we make as parents when we're listening to our kids when they share something with us is we try to fix it. Because we don't like the feelings it brings up in us. It makes us feel uncomfortable. So what you want to do is just hold space and go "Yeah, it's hard." Do M.O.V.E.S. a few times again and again. And then after you feel like you've adequately listened to them, then you can go into "I wonder what we might be able to do that would help this" and some troubleshooting ideas, but if they're not into it, let it go and just listen and do moves again and again.
That's my Three Minute Parenting Playbook for today. I hope that was helpful. Click the link below if you want to download a resource that goes with this.