Something little that has made a big difference in my relationship building with the kids has been to activly listen. I don’t know how often Mr. Hockey (my rambler) has just gone off chatting to me, while I filled in uh huh’s, yah’s and really’s at the right times. I would often have no idea what he was really talking about other than the fact that it was hockey or a computer game etc.
I’d do the same with the others, the just aren’t usually so big on rambling so it happened less often.
Since noticing my “inactive listening,” I have been really trying to pay attention. When I feel my mind wonder, I refocus by remembering that they are only kids once and the time I spend with them now will have an impact forever. It has really made a positive change in my interactions with them. The girls are asking if they can just come and chat with me and I have really noticed Elasto-boy being very affectionate. Mr. Hockey has still been rambling away, but I can see from the look on his face that he is enjoying an active audience.