9 Ways to Make Parent Child Communication a Habit in Your Family
When children are young, they tend to excitedly share every single thing they encounter or experience with their parents.
Kids may talk on and on about a caterpillar they saw in the garden or a cool Lego toy they built, and their favorite people to share every excitement with are mom and dad.
An overview of parent child communication as kids grow
As children grow, their knowledge about their world expands, as does their ability to express their thoughts and opinions in words.
They become better critical thinkers and they question things more and increasingly form their own ideas about things.
Ironically, as they gain more information and communication skills, they are less likely to share everything with parents.
That’s partly because their worlds naturally expand beyond just mom and dad to include friends, teachers, and other people they interact with regularly, and no matter how good their relationship with their parents may be, their social lives are developing and competing for their attention.
This natural focus away from home as kids grow is one of the key reasons why it’s important for parents to establish good communication habits early with their children and facilitate parent child communication.
On how to interact with kids, if kids know that dinnertime is sharing time, for example, it will become second nature to them to talk about their day and share their thoughts about things at the dinner table.
Positive communication with children
Getting your child into the habit of talking with you regularly will increase the chances that they’ll keep you in the loop, even as they approach adolescence, and will make it easier for them to come to you when there is a problem or they need your advice about something.
Here are some great ways you can make conversations a regular part of your daily routine.
Communication between parents and children 101
1. Set aside a regular time to talk
Whether it’s dinner time, bedtime or during a bath, establish a time every day that’s your quiet time to connect and catch up without interruptions or distractions.
Here’s the caveat on parent child communication.
The time of the day doesn’t matter– what’s important is that your child knows it’s your private time together, when you and the child can relax and talk about whatever is on your mind.
Do this individually with each child, so that each kid has his or her unique time with you without having to share with a sibling.
2. Make dinner time a priority
No matter how busy you are, try to eat dinner together at least a few times a week. Studies have shown that eating meals together regularly is linked to a host of benefits for kids, including improved academic performance, reduced risk of obesity, and even better emotional and mental health.
If regular family dinners are impossible or you don’t have time to cook, try to find alternative solutions, like having breakfast together or getting taken out from a restaurant.
The key for successful parent child communication is to connect as a family on a regular basis, keep your relationship strong, and give your child the security of knowing that you are there when they need you at regular and predictable times.
3. Create a special place
Designate some special places in or around your home as your place to be together and be calm, quiet and talk.
It could be a couple of chairs in your backyard, your sofa, or snuggled on your child’s bed.
Whatever the spot is, make it a place you can always go to when you need to hash out a problem or just touch base about your day.
4. Incorporate conversations into regular routines
Often, kids feel more comfortable talking about things while they’re engaged in another activity, like shooting hoops in the backyard, shopping for groceries, or working on some kids’ crafts together.
Other regular activities like going to the playground together or setting the table for dinner or driving to school in the morning can all be ideal opportunities to have conversations about what’s going on in your lives.
5. Maintain trustworthy relationships
For effective parent child communication, it is crucial to let your child know that they can come to you whenever they need to talk.
When your child wants to tell you something, respond in a positive way.
If you’re in the middle of something, like returning an important work email or making dinner, ask your child if it’s something that can wait until you’ve finished what you’re doing.
Then be sure to follow up and give them your full attention as soon as you can.
6. Be a good listener
As a building block to improve parent child communication, try to remove distractions when your child is speaking to you, especially if it’s about something important they want to share.
Turn off the TV, put down your cell phone, and give your child your full attention.
Recent research shows that many kids today feel like their parents are distracted by their cell phones and other devices and aren’t focused on them.
7. Ask specific questions
Questions like “How was your day” tend to get responses like “Good.”
Try to tailor your questions so that they’re conversation starters.
Ask things like, “What’s the most interesting thing your teacher said today?” or “Did you friends do anything silly?” or “What was the most fun thing you did during recess and why did you like it so much?”
8. Talk about things outside the home
One common roadblock to parent child communication is that the kids may feel pressure if they feel like they always have to share something about themselves.
If you talk about other things in and outside your child’s world, like what’s going on with the friends or what’s going on in the news, your child will express their thoughts and opinions, and in the process, naturally share something about themself.
9. Set an example you want your child to follow
Talk about things that you’re interested in and ask your child for their opinion.
Sharing something about yourself is actually one of the many ways you can show your child how much you love them every single day.
Of course, parents should not confide in kids or ask them for advice on serious matters.
But since kids learn how to communicate largely by watching how their parents relate to people around them, be sure to set an example of openness and honesty.
While your kid is young, work diligently at improving parent child communication.
Let your child see you work out conflicts with your partner, and other adults in a loving and constructive manner, and be loving and supportive when they come to you with a problem.
Alongside these tips on, how should parents communicate with children, it would be helpful to check out these parent child relationship building activities. Gear up now to repair or strengthen parent children communication, starting today. Good luck!
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