Communication with your child is important regardless of how old they are. It's important to focus on good communication while your child is young. That way, as your child gets older, talking to your child about more serious issues is easier.
Communication is not just giving orders or long lectures, it's seeking to understand your child's body language and their communication styles.
This may sound like we're stating the obvious here, but most children don't have a very long attention span. So if you expect them to sit through a long lecture, you're going to end up disappointed and maybe even upset that they didn't listen to you.
Active listening involves giving full attention to your child. This means you stop the other things you are doing, make eye contact, and listen to what your child has to say. For great parent-child communication, it helps if you repeat what your child said because it shows them that you really did hear them.
According to the CDC, "Special playtime is a chance for you to focus on your child’s good behaviors and build a strong, nurturing relationship. You can use the time to actively listen and practice praising, imitating, and describing your child’s behavior. The more you practice the skills, the easier it is to use them in everyday situations".
To encourage better parent-child communication, set a good example. When you're responding to your child, use words like "wow", "tell me more", and "that's so interesting".
Encourage your child by making them feel good about talking to you. Be positive. Use more kind words like "thank you", "that really means a lot to me", "you're the best".
Perhaps the easiest way to improve parent-child communication is to practice the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated.
Listen to your child, seek to understand, get excited about what interests them, and offer genuine support. And, remember, it's never too late to start improving communication.
Tell us, how do you improve communication with your child? What has worked for you?