With this age of technology and social media, getting to your child to open up to you after school can be as tricky as trying to navigate through complicated phone systems. Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook users might even know more about what is going on with your kids more than you do. Sometimes it looks as if you are on different planets.
But the truth is that even with the invention of Facebook, your children still need one-on-one conversations with their parents. They need help processing their school day, negotiating difficult decisions and understanding how to relate to others. This is a process that all parents really want to be involved in, but the problem is how do you get them to communicate with you in a way that is natural and open.
As a parent, communicating openly with your kids and respecting their feelings will help build a stronger bond. Here are five tips to help you achieve effective parent-child communication in your family:
#01. Make Conversations During the In-Between Times
It is a common belief amongst parents that you need to sit down and have deep conversations with your kids whenever you need to talk to them. However, you will be surprised to know that kids are more open when you find time in between activities, and have a little ‘chit-chat.’ When you are baking cookies, driving to school, before bedtime or during their baths, you can sneak in a question, and best believe that they will open up. Kids do find it easy to open up in the middle of doing other things, during these in-betweens of life. Sam from Moving Babies suggests the best way to chat could popping them in their stroller and going for a walk and chatting along the way or, if they are a bit bigger, grabbing their bikes and taking a ride around the neighborhood.
#02. Creatively Create Talking Habits/Rituals
What are your kid’s conversation habits? Does she/he tolerate questions, have lively morning-hour talks, barely look at you at the end of a school day or are they one of those kids that love back-and-forth talks? Learning and observing your children’s conversational styles will go a long way to help you navigate through your communication habits. The key is not change what you cannot change about kids, but respecting their natural times and ways of talking, and they will be let you in. Even a quick fifteen minutes of their talking time can be just what you need to form solid conversation connections.
#03. Be Human; Your Child is Human too
Do not be the type of parent that always wants to be their kids’ psychologist or have exaggerated and unhelpful reactions, rather converse with your child expressing with real emotions. When they are young, upset or afraid, try just nodding your head, naming feelings or even reminiscing about a similar experience that you had. It might be hard, but this is an excellent way to show that you care. Keeping in touch with their day-day lives, means responding with a personal touch – ‘no. Ann did not do that!’ and ‘I am so proud of you.’
#04.Open Up about Your Day too
Conversations are two-way traffic. When you share, your kids will also share. Next time when you are eating dinner, open up about your day. You might not even get to the end of your story due to interruptions. You will trigger their memories about things that happened during their day at school. If you talk about the difficult assignment your boss gave you, they might talk about how they’re struggling in Spanish. Just avoid asking open-ended questions like ‘how was school’ – they are the quickest way to kill conversation!
#05. Offer Them Your ‘Two-Cents’
Even with Wikipedia and Google being the number one advisor for most issues, your children still need your advice on matters they do not know how to handle. When they present you with problems, and you have talked through them, offer her/him the chance to share their ideas, and do not shy away to give yours. Just make sure to make it short, and use your life-wisdom and experiences to guide them. Powerful advice means knowing your limits to assist your children in making their decisions without you. When they see where you stand, that will bring the closer and willing to share.
Developing an effective parent-child communication is very important, and by considering these tips they will help you talk to your kids with respect and positive assertion, and there will be an improvement in your conversational relationship.