“Look at Me When I Talk to You Mommy!” Do We Really Remember to Do This With Our Exceptional Kids?

Michael has started saying something funny and sobering to me lately. “Mommy, look at me when I talk to you!” He has uttered these words when he’s telling me about his day after school. I usually do look directly at him, as we are sitting having our snacks together at the kitchen or dining room table. Sometimes though, if it’s been a particularly busy day, I’m grabbing my coffee or food while he’s already sitting down talking, and obviously not looking directly at him. “I hear you Michael. Keep talking. I’ll be right there.” I say. He usually will stop talking, wait until I’m settled, then start talking again to me when I’m next to him on my chair. If it takes me a few seconds to settle into the conversation, and I’m not making eye contact, he’ll sigh and utter those words “Mommy, please look at me when I talk to you.” The first time he said it I laughed. Then I apologized. I told him he was right and gave him my full attention. He’s getting it! He’s getting what real conversation is.

This brought to my mind all the times that we may not be looking or really listening to our exceptional kids, eye contact notwithstanding. Now, there are usually good reasons for distractions, rushing in the morning to get out the door to school, work, other children who need our attention, our own stresses and problems. But still, this got me thinking about all the work I did to get Michael to tune into my world, our world, and now he is the one reminding me to tune in when I am doing two things at once. Sending texts is another culprit for me. I’ve even caught myself doing it at the table. The last time this happened I apologized and said, “That was Daddy asking a quick question. I’m putting the phone away now. You have my full attention.”

I think to really build conversation skills, empathy, human relationships, as exceptional Moms we have to be even more careful with technology and other distractions when around our kids. What message do we want to send to children who are already more comfortable with computers, phones and televisions than they are with people, if we are constantly on them ourselves or distracted by our own thoughts? Thanks to Michael pointing this out, I am now more conscious of being present for him. Meditation and yoga talk about this too. Being in the moment. It is truly the best way to communicate and live. I hope this is something all of you exceptional Moms out there keep in mind when you are with your children. Because  the time we have with them is precious no matter what else is happening. Until next time.

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