‘Read the Room’ — advice for kids

I have recently realised that a lot of my parenting philosophies can be synthesised down into a few short phrases or even words. The phrases have changed with the years (I don’t seem to be screaming a simple “Stop!” that often anymore). Some phrases, I am sure, have been used since the dawn of time. Very likely even cavemen (and woman) told their kids to “think before you speak”!

I have been hearing myself saying “Read the Room” a lot lately, especially to my pre-teen. I think it such an important thing to do and an important life skill to have.  To be aware of the mood in the room, to be aware of the people in the room and their humour, customs and age. The ability to be conscious and emphatic of our environment is something that we as adults take for granted, though even we often manage to misjudge situations.

Now that my kids are getting older and spending more time with their friends’ families and even our family without me being around, I want to make sure that they know when it is the right moment to tell a fart joke (possibly not in front of an 80-year-old grandmother) and when it is the right time to listen to someone else talking and to ask the right questions. They are around much more adult conversations and do need to be able to judge what is the right thing to say, I feel.

Now just to be clear — this does not work all the time and let me tell you, the room often is mis-read. ; ) As usual rearing kids is often a work in progress!


Above is a photo of Esther’s and my kids last summer when they all “read the room” and realised it was totally ok to play with their food as their mamas were taking photos of them!


Comments (8)

June 29, 2017

I suppose there is a level of emotional intelligence needed to be able to read the room and tailor conversations, jokes etc accordingly and appropriately. I know some adults who struggle to do this so I think it must be difficult for children at times. Some adults need to lighten up as well children needing to learn appropriate conversation! 🙂

June 30, 2017

I absolutely agree Phoebe. Grown up also sometimes need to read the room 😉

Vanessa in Scotland
June 29, 2017

I was just about to say the same as Phoebe! I think it’s such a great phrase to use for children (and adults). I really admire the way you bring up your two girls Emilie.

Esther in Amsterdam
June 29, 2017

Can we take that photo again this summer??? And I also do love this post. It even is very relevant to me! xx

June 30, 2017

yes, please!!!!

Annie from Brimful
June 30, 2017

What a great phrase Emilie – I’m totally going to remember this! Your posts always have such great takeaways – thank you. ❤️

Lara in London
June 30, 2017

Love this phrase! Such a positive way to teach them to become both self aware and socially aware. Thanks. x

Vee in London
August 17, 2017

Hi Emilie! I definitely agree with the general idea that not all moods suit all moments, can’t reading the room go too much to the other extreme in children guessing what others want to hear and adjusting themselves to people please? I know this does not oppose what you are saying, but there are times you need to stand your ground rather than “go with the room” and it could be hard for children to distinguish between the two (?)

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