How to Get Your Kids Attention – Episode Overview
Our kids sometimes seem like they are on a different frequency. How do we get through to them about life’s important things if we can’t first get their attention and connect with them?
I have been talking to a number of parents lately who share that this challenge isn’t limited to the teen years. It starts early and stays until… well forever. So I guess the better question is that in a totally distracting world, how do we get others to tune in to hear things that matter? Jim Skinner and I talk about what it means to get someone’s attention, what stops it and what to do about it.
Attention and Intention
This week, my attention is on learning how to get others’ attention. My intention is that when we get their attention, we have the ability of sharing meaningful information to make their lives better – we get to talk about things with substance and purpose. You can’t learn if you don’t show up to the lesson.
Meet our guest Jim Skinner
Jim Skinner is a speaker, blogger, author and podcaster. He is the founder and president of the Smart Patient Academy, an insurance benefits enrollment and communications company, and an avid surfer, rock climber and skateboarder and host of the podcast, Stories with Purpose. Find out more about this remarkable man at the links below.
Episode’s Key TakeAWays
- Let’s talk about attention: We have telephoto and panoramic attention. Telephoto attention happens when we really concentrate on something – or, when we are connected to our phone or computer; other things are going on around us but we don’t have any awareness of them. Panoramic attention is when we are able to tune in and notice the things that are around us. This expanded attention gives us access to great information.
- The more telephoto attention we have the less we aware of the others around us. So, with our kids, the more focused they are on a device, the less bandwidth they have to hear or connect with us. This is critical to know so that we can see that this is part of what this generation does – that is, until we make a change.
- Here are 2 ways Jim Skinner shared in how to get our kids attention:
- Identify where they have single or telephoto focus that needs changing (the most likely place is where they are locked on to their technology). Create technology free zones or times (meal time, after certain hours, when spending time with others). This creates the possibility of getting their attention once the distraction is removed. Respect their time and interest in their devices – it is part of how this generation connects. Then, show them how to be in a space that doesn’t have devices so they can learn to fully tune in to the rest of life.
- Get into the kid’s space – join them in what they do. In sharing this space with them, you open up the ability to really connect – to be able to ask great question, to find out more about your kids and to show your interest in their lives.
Some question for parents:
- What are you currently doing to get your kids attention in a way that matters to them? How successful are you?
- What ways can you not hold technology hostage or use it as a punishment, but help them realize that there is a time and place for technology because of how single focused it makes them?
- What are the things your kids love to do that would be good for you to join them in?
- How can you join your kids in their hobbies and interests and not invade their space or privacy?
- When you have your kids attention, what information do you share – and are you aware of whether your communication is positive and supportive or negative and corrective?
Reclaiming Conversation – the Power of Talk In The Digital Age by Sherry Turkle
We live in a technological universe in which we are always communicating. And yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection.
Preeminent author and researcher Sherry Turkle has been studying digital culture for over thirty years. Long an enthusiast for its possibilities, here she investigates a troubling consequence: at work, at home, in politics, and in love, we find ways around conversation, tempted by the possibilities of a text or an email in which we don’t have to look, listen, or reveal ourselves.
We develop a taste for what mere connection offers. The dinner table falls silent as children compete with phones for their parents’ attention. Friends learn strategies to keep conversations going when only a few people are looking up from their phones. At work, we retreat to our screens although it is conversation at the water cooler that increases not only productivity but commitment to work. Online, we only want to share opinions that our followers will agree with – a politics that shies away from the real conflicts and solutions of the public square.
The case for conversation begins with the necessary conversations of solitude and self-reflection. They are endangered: these days, always connected, we see loneliness as a problem that technology should solve. Afraid of being alone, we rely on other people to give us a sense of ourselves, and our capacity for empathy and relationship suffers. We see the costs of the flight from conversation everywhere: conversation is the cornerstone for democracy and in business it is good for the bottom line. In the private sphere, it builds empathy, friendship, love, learning, and productivity.
But there is good news: we are resilient. Conversation cures.
Based on five years of research and interviews in homes, schools, and the workplace, Turkle argues that we have come to a better understanding of where our technology can and cannot take us and that the time is right to reclaim conversation. The most human—and humanizing—thing that we do.
The virtues of person-to-person conversation are timeless, and our most basic technology, talk, responds to our modern challenges. We have everything we need to start, we have each other.