Open, two-way communication is an important tool in raising a healthy child. Here are a few steps to keep the communication channels strong.
- Be available. Figure out the times your kids like to talk and are around during the day, and try to be there for them.
- Set aside time weekly to do a one-on-one activity with each child.
- Start a conversation. It shows you care about their lives. Let them know you’re listening. Stop and listen. Don’t multi-task, listen to their point of view and let them finish before you respond.
- Avoid angry or defensive reactions. Soften your approach. Acknowledge it’s okay to disagree, and refrain from saying any one person is right.
- Focus on your child’s feelings during the conversation, not your own. Let them tell you what they need from you. Ask them. Do you want advice? Should I only listen? Do you need help solving a problem? If you ask, you will better know what to contribute or to avoid in a conversation with them. This approach develops trust.
Click here for more steps you can take to open communication with your child.