Ever listened to yourself? Most adults have a couple of different voices. One for colleagues, one for home, and another for using whilst watching sport on TV. Parents have an even bigger range of tones, suitable for a variety of parenting applications. Here are some of my “daddy voices”:
Get up and go!
I tend to be a herder in the mornings. Karen says I use my “sergeant-major voice”. As much as I’d love to sit in bed with coffee, I rush around getting the lunches sorted out, making the breakfasts, signing homework books and coercing sleepy kids into uniforms. I’ve found that it works best to have a routine, even if it is a little militarised. Hop to it, kids!
The end of the school day
is just as busy, but we engage a bit more. I do my best to extract some information about what they’ve done for the past few hours. Sometimes they share, sometimes they don’t. I’ll probably tell them about something fun happening at work, too, so they know more about me than “dad works on a computer”. I have to ask open-ended questions, and we do have some great chats.Play talk
Sometimes we just talk absolute nonsense. We make up our own jokes, tease each other (gently) and invent mad stories. We share our dreams
- they tell me of their extravagant wishes for birthday presents and I make up places where we’ll all live one day- a mansion with everything they could ever want inside. Sometimes it’s as simple as Jonah telling yet another fart joke, or it can be a real time of bonding, where we all open up.Cross voice
Yeah. I have one. I like this one the least. It has the power to make me feel like a bad dad. But, when they’re stepping over the lines, fighting with each other or... or... well, you know how kids can be- then my scary voice kicks in.Story time
Best voice-time! I love to read stories with as many characters as possible, giving them gruff, squeaky, girly, innocent, tough, frightening, dopy or wild voices. The reward is seeing how my children engage with the stories. Happily... ever.... after.Soft and calm
Then, when all of the chaos of another day is over it’s time to be whispery:
“‘Night kids. I love you lots. Think of happy things before you sleep, like strawberries and butterflies, and you’ll have lovely dreams.”
The most important thing, I guess, is that we talk. It’s not so much about the voices I use, but what they say in return. One day, they’ll be big, and choosing whether to be positive and constructive with the words they select, or if they’ll use them as weapons.
Let’s hope they learn to understand the power of words and the tones behind them, and use them in the best ways possible.
What do you find is the most effective way to communicate to your children? Send us your thoughts to email@example.com and you could win a R250 kalahari.com voucher.