As a parent, you probably have a tight schedule most of the time whilst trying to handle everything on your plate. Your children are also now busier than ever with school, homework, extracurriculars, friends and screen time. With everyone’s hectic schedules nowadays, it has become challenging to communicate or spend quality time together as a family.
However, there should always be a little time each day to set aside for each other. As a parent, take advantage of the moments you have with your child just to talk. This might be in the car when driving to music lessons, grabbing a quick breakfast before work and school, at the dinner table, or even just before bed. Just a few minutes can make a big difference to improve parent-child communication.
Here are five more ways which can help improve communication with your children:
Focus on Your Body Language
While communicating with your children, you need to pay a special focus on your complete body language. When your child is talking to you, face them, maintain eye contact, kneel down, or tilt your head to show your responsiveness to them. Maintaining proper body language will enable your child to know that you’re listening to them.
Have a Fun Conversation with Your Children
After a long and hectic day at work or school, you or your children may struggle to find a common topic to talk about. So, rather than going for a planned and boring conversation, be candid with them and try to discuss their daily activities at school or even you can discuss your day at work. You must aim to make such conversations fun and interesting by asking questions like “what was the funniest thing that happened at school today?”. After all, at the end of the day, it is all about good communication and spending quality time together
When your child is talking to you, resist the urge to correct them immediately, even if you think they’re wrong. Hear them out before responding. Better yet, go an extra step by asking your child follow-up questions to learn more about why they see things as they do. This approach acknowledges your child’s feelings and gets them talking. You are likely to get more cooperation when you are willing to hear their concerns versus simply correcting them.
Engage In Role-plays
Make your child imagine different situations and talk to them about it. Pretend to be a teacher, friend or classmate at school and practice conversations that they are perhaps having difficulty with. This way they will be able to re-enact the situation and have a conversation with you safely and it will also give them a chance to open up to you about their feelings.
Acknowledge their feelings
Sometimes children are reluctant to share their feelings with parents because they fear judgement or repercussions from their side. Instead of reacting in such a way, try to empathize with them and acknowledge their feelings whether it’s anger, resentment or sadness.
Sometimes children only want parents to acknowledge their feelings and simply just to listen to them. This activity of acknowledging, validating and listening to your children’s emotions will help them to respect other people’s emotions in the future.