Open, two-way communication is an important tool in raising a healthy child. Here are a few steps to keep the communication channels strong.

  1. Be available. Figure out the times your kids like to talk and are around during the day, and try to be there for them.
  2. Set aside time weekly to do a one-on-one activity with each child.
  3. 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.
  4. Avoid angry or defensive reactions. Soften your approach. Acknowledge it’s okay to disagree, and refrain from saying any one person is right.
  5. 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.