With three kids, William and Kate are parenting pros and they’ve picked up a hands-on trick that even us plebeians can use to nurture better familial communication.
William and Kate make an effort to kneel down to their children’s eye level—OK maybe not Prince Louis’s yet—to foster open communication.
If you’ve spent any time looking at photos of Prince William with his kids, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, you might have noticed that the Duke of Cambridge often kneels down while talking to them.
Susan Constantine, human behavioural expert and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Reading Body Language, told The Royal UK that Prince William and Duchess Catherine exhibit all sorts of loving body language toward their kids, but the way they bend down to their level is extra special. “This is a way for them to refrain from being authoritative and in turn, better relate to their children,” she said.
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By meeting their children eye-to-eye, William and Kate aren’t asserting dominance and are instead encouraging Prince George and Princess Charlotte to express themselves on equal terms. From the smiles on George’s face, their tactic seems to be working.
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Although this technique is a Will and Kate go-to, it’s not common royal practice. Queen Elizabeth doesn’t go quite to the same length when speaking to children, but she is the queen and, um, 96 years old.
Prince William was even scolded by the Queen for doing it at Trooping the Colour in 2016! The Queen might not have appreciated her grandson using this parenting technique in such a formal setting, but according to experts, the Duke of Cambridge’s squatting trick is one all parents could stand to steal.
It makes perfect sense when you think about it: When the Duke of Cambridge crouches down to his George, Charlotte, or Louis’s level, he’s able to look into their eyes. Experts consider this to be an “active listening” technique, People reports, and it can help kids feel like what they’re saying really matters to their parents. And isn’t that sweet?
Of course, listening to and talking with your child involves more than just squatting down to eye level. The Center For Parenting Education recommends that parents stop what they’re doing and give a child their full attention when they’re talking, Parent Herald reports. After all, positioning yourself to actively listen-only does so much good if you aren’t actually, you know, listening.
So next time your child wants your attention, try crouching down and looking them in the eye while they talk to you. It’s easy, it’ll boost their self-esteem — and it’s royal family-approved. (Thanks, Kate and William!)
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