Communication is one of the most important things for any kind of human relationship. A parent-child one is not an exception. Communicating in a healthy and open way will help you raise a child that will trust you and will not feel the need to hide bad things in their life from you.
Of course, that means that you also need to earn their trust, by respecting their privacy, for example, and by not making them regret telling you something (there is a saying that goes basically like “People learn to lie when they are punished for telling the truth”). But that is a very broad topic, and this article is just one little, but very helpful, trick that can help you communicate with your kids better.
A psychologist named Nataliya Sirotich
explained a rule about three minutes that are the most important in every day, and it is quite simple and easy to do. When you see your child after you have been separated from them for some time (no matter whether it is fifteen minutes, few hours, or maybe even a couple of days), you should greet them as if you have not seen them for a long time.
You should get down on their eye level and spend three minutes hugging them and asking them what happened during the time that you were away. It is especially important to do it after the kid has been to kindergarten, school, or some other activity, or when you come home from work.
If you ask your child what was going on this way, they will tell you all the information that they can remember in that moment. Later, they might filter something out as less important or forget some things, but in those first few minutes, their memories and impressions will be the freshest and you will be able to get a detailed account of everything that your child had experienced.
Apart from the obvious benefit…
(you knowing all the important things that happen to your child), this will also make your child feel that you want to know things that are important to them, that you are invested in their life, and they will trust you more and bond with you more. When they come across something bad or difficult in their life, there are bigger chances that they will come to you for help than that they will think they have to look somewhere else because they cannot trust you or think you would not be interested in their problems.
Of course, this does not mean that you should spend only three minutes talking to your child every day and ignore them for the rest of the day. This is simply a rule for the first three minutes after you meet them, so they have the opportunity to share everything important to you. It also does not mean that it should take exactly 180 seconds, and not a single moment more or less. If your child is excitedly talking about something and wants to talk for a longer time, it would be counterproductive to stop them just because the time for the ‘rule talk’ is done.
To put it simply, do not follow anything blindly, including this rule. Talk to your child a lot and often, listen to them with understanding, respect them, and appreciate that they want to talk to you and share things that are important to them.