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Helicopter No More: Be Present without Hovering

Let children set their own goals and timelines. Ask: “What do you want to accomplish today/this week?” Guide them in an age-appropriate way.

  • Ask open-ended questions. “What’s going on tonight with your homework?” not “Do you have homework?”
  • Have conversations that aren’t face-to-face, such as in the car or while preparing dinner.
  • Pause to hear what kids say. Sometimes small comments signal a larger truth. “I’m tired of this” can mean more than routine weariness.
  • Embrace disappointment as a character-building experience. “Sometimes we have to fall down gracefully and figure out how to get back up,” said Karen Williams, LIMHP, CHI Health mental health therapist.
  • Give kids time to just be. “We are human beings, not human doings,” Williams said.