As busy parents, we can fall into a habit of talking at our kids rather than taking the time to talk with our kids. When time is at a premium, it’s often easier to simply tell our children what we need them to know, forgetting that real communication is a two-way street and has a purpose of growing a deeper and stronger relationship. It’s important to communicate with your children – both talking to them and listening to them – in order to build a solid relationship with them.
17 Ways to Communicate with Your Children
1. Listen to your children when they talk: Actively hear what they have to say when they are talking.
2. Ask about their day at school: Ask what they did, how they felt, and what is going on in their life. Use open-ended questions to encourage them to share with you.
3. Share a family meal : Many families eat dinner together as a way of catching up on each other’s lives – make it a priority to eat dinner together at least once a week.
4. Make time for family time: Have a family game night or just a set aside time when you discuss what is happening in your family.
5. Maintain eye contact when you are talking to your children: This lets them know that nothing else is holding your attention but what they have to say.
6. Ask follow-up questions: If they give you a one-word answer to your first question, ask another.
7. Show respect: Speak to them with respect no matter what their age. Knock before entering their room even if the rule is no locked doors. Don’t dismiss what they are feeling, even if you can’t relate.
8. Read body language: Your child may say he is fine but his mannerisms may suggest otherwise.
9. Tell your children you love them: You can never say it enough when you mean it.
10. Encourage them to talk: Children have opinions, too. Listen to them.
11. Be honest with them: Kids can (and will) catch you in a lie. Don’t make promises you can’t keep or threaten consequences you’re not willing to follow through with.
12. Talk about when you were a kid: Kids want to know they are not alone, and hearing about your struggles and successes as a kid helps them to be able to relate with you.
13. Accept their right to their emotions: Acknowledge their emotions, and teach them how to express their emotions in a healthy way.
14. Encourage their interests: Whether you genuinely listen to them share about an interest or help them to invest their time and resources into their interests, make sure that they know their interests matter to you.
15. Let them help cook dinner: Getting your kids in the kitchen is a great way to spend quality time together.
16. Avoid saying hurtful things to them: Discipline is necessary, but even then your words ought to seek to bring reconciliation not destruction.
17. Touch them: Give hugs, kisses, and pats on the back. Kids need to feel your love.
It’s easy to communicate with your children if you take the time and become intentional about doing so. Communicating with your children on a regular (and intentional basis) is a great way to build a healthy parent-child relationship.
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