Many parents are struggling to communicate with children at home. Parents and children are not taught competently in schools and life how to communicate effectively. There will be moments where they could pick up a few skills but not in a way that it becomes a way of life. If children and parents have the tools and skills that they need for better relationships and indeed for life wouldn’t it be a more stress-free world for all?
10 Ten tips to help you better communicate with children
With these Ten tips for parents struggling to communicate with their children, the priority is with you as the parent to get this right. If your child sees you doing this then they will mirror what you do. So take the opportunity to get this right.
Listen to your child with your whole body. I know this can be very difficult as you have so many things to do and your list never ends but if you do not take the time to listen to your child then they will feel that you are not interested in what they say. Put the mobile down, turn the laptop off and sit down and let your child speak.
Be aware of their emotions. It is not always easy for you as a parent to pick up on your child’s emotion because you are not listening properly or your child does not quite know how to tell you. So listen to the words, the tone, observe their body language and let them know that you have listened and understand how they are feeling and then spend some time with them to go through their emotions.
Children have feelings, so acknowledge them. If your child is feeling angry, sad, frustrated, confused etc then make sure that you speak to them and let them know that you understand and more importantly that you give them permission to know that it is ok to have those feelings.
Before you react, understand the full picture. Before you start to scream at your child always remember to take a breath and then ask them questions to understand what happened. This way the child has an opportunity to explain and they will be willing to talk to you.
Imagine you are the child. We are all children even as adults and just as we want people to understand us by living in our shoes, children are the same. You cannot assume that your child will understand an adult situation and how it makes them feel but when they do react, listen and observe what is happening and what triggered this. Then sit with your child and understand what they are saying and acknowledge. This will be very instrumental in learning their development needs and supporting them.
Shame your child or understand the behaviours. As a parent, it is always important to put yourself in your child’s place and even take opportunities to remember how it was for you as a child. How did you feel when your parents shouted at you all the time and did not understand. Rather than shouting and screaming at your child for what they have done, give them a solution. After all, you are the parent and need to support and encourage your child.
Time Out. Once you have listened to understand, both you and your child should take some time out to reflect on what happened and why. It is important to do this as part of the emotional understanding journey and is an essential part of learning to communicate with children.
Involve your child in decisions. Have you thought about how you could involve your child in sorting out the schedule for the week so that you all have time to do the essentials (work, home work etc), plus time to do things together (cook, play, exercise etc), alone time to do what makes you happy (listen to music, catch up with friends, read a book etc) and time to sit and have at meals together.
Be prepared to make unplanned time to listen. Children are still learning how to process things that are said, heard, their feelings and so much more so make sure that you have time built into your day for that emergency chat they need, a hug or just to sit with them so they know you are for them and love them
Don’t Avoid Communication. A big no no is to avoid the conversation and say “we can talk about it later, I’m too busy for you, I don’t have time for this”.All of these are negative and will make your child feel like you do not have time for them, they are not important and you do not love them. Even if you cannot do it at the second it’s ok to say “ let me finish this email and then talk to me, let me finish this call with work and then let’s sit on the sofa and you can talk to me”. The important thing is that you are letting them know what it is you are doing and being clear in your communication.
Final thoughts on how to better communicate with children
So that’s your 10 tips to start your journey to communicate more effectively with your children. It’s over to you as a parent to make this work. Remember, it will take time but if you can just try with one of the tips and then add in another one each couple of days you will be on the journey to being able to more effectively communicate with children. I am looking forward to hearing how you get on. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org