Scientists now know that strong bonding between people increases reward chemicals in the brain which have been proven to increase trust, de-escalate heated situations, increase compliance and decrease anxiety. As teachers we are intimately responsible for this brain development and want to do everything possible to give our children the tools for resilience, social health and happiness.
C - CONNECT
This is where you really connect with your kid. It's a true connection with your child. You put your phone down and you use your body to indicate that you are deeply listening to your child.
A - AFFECT
This is affect matching. Your child looks sad, you look sad. If they look scared, you look scared. You may not be experiencing the same emotions but you're letting them know that you really understand their experience in that moment. Don't tell them how they should be feeling, or try to fix it as that could escalate their distress.
L - LISTEN
Paraphrase, clarify and summarize or wonder out loud all with that affect. That way you can really listen to what your child is saying — have them feel that they've really been heard.
M - MIRRORING
Sit in the moment with your child and let them share what they are feeling. Empathize but don't try to fix it. You want your child to feel like you are the person who really gets them.
So, when you've done all of the above, you've had a great moment with your kid deeply connecting with them.
This advice — paired with the idea to "connect before you correct" — will really help to send the message to your child that you're there, and that he or she can open up to you.