Checking-In with your kids

The importance of checking in with your loved ones

We all want to support those that we love in the best possible way, however in order to do this we need to know what is going on in each other’s lives.

So often when asking someone how they are, we receive an almost automatic response like “fine thanks” or “good” and if your asking a teenager you might be lucky to get a grunt!

In our experience, we have found a process that we call a “Check-In” a useful way to fully understand how each other is at a given moment in time.  The purpose of a Check-In is to provide the space to be vulnerable and the environment to share safely and authentically how we are really doing at this present moment.

We use this process in our families and our work environments to ensure we are abreast of what is going on in each other’s lives.  With this knowledge and understanding, we are not only better able to offer our support when it is needed we also are able to be more empathetic to each other’s individual situation.  This not only builds trust but also a sense of community and respect for one another.

While the process is quite simple it offers a powerful way to create connection and understanding.  You can do a Check In at the dinner table of an evening or at a staff meeting before you kick off into the agenda.  This helps set the tone and enables anyone the chance to seek assistance if they need it.

The key to a successful Check-In process is to create some structure and rules around it in order to facilitate a safe space for people to communicate open and honestly.  We recommend the following key points:

  • First, agree that everyone is going to have a Check In
  • Use a ‘talking stick’ – Only the person with the talking object can talk
  • Remove any distractions like phones, toys or other items
  • Use open-ended questions that invite more sharing – e.g Tell me a story of when?
  • Speak your own truth – Use ‘I’ statements, don’t generalise, lecture of philosophise

When using Check in’s in families, particularly when starting out with children, you can expect that at first, they may not share all that much.  This is where it is important as an adult to role model or set the scene for your kids. This will often mean going first! If you are able to share openly and honestly what is going on in your life then they are more likely to authentically share what is going on for them.

Over time you will find, that as they get used to the process, they will begin to share more and more about what is going on for them. They may even look forward to this family ritual as they know they can be themselves no matter what.

Learn more from The Rites of Passage Institute - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaHaAomxuDQ 

Chanelle Shibata