When you first become a parent your hope is you will learn what your babies cry means. Is she hungry, dirty or tired? You find yourself feeling victorious when you decipher that code. As your child grows you start realizing that there is a lot more codes to decipher. As they spread their little wings in independence you have to be ready to learn & adjust on the fly.
Learning how to communicate with your kids at all different stages can be one of the most frustrating things out there. I know it is for me. To muddy the waters even further. Do you talk to your son the same way you talk to your daughter? Do you expect them to talk to you the same way or do you let them get away with different communication styles?
Oh, so many things to consider and juggle. Let’s take a look at a few that might make the task just a wee bit easier.
- Listen! Really listen to them. It is so easy and too tempting to talk over your kids. You have to learn to stop and listen.
- Practice listening on a daily basis. Here’s a trick. At dinner or bedtime ask your kids their high and low of the day. It might take awhile for them to really start opening up but if you consistently do it they will really talk, especially if you zip your lips and just listen.
- If your kids are school aged they don’t get a lot of time to just talk at their pace. In school they are thinking at a very fast pace and also have to be able to express themselves at an even faster pace. As frustrating as it can be, sometimes we need to allow our kids to just ramble a bit and share what pops into their heads. By allowing them to do this you open the path of strong communication.
- Play games together. No matter your kids age, deep down they want to spend time with you. Games are a great way to relax and let the walls down. When you are playing games, ask you kids questions. They are more apt to chat with you when they are preoccupied.
- Ask them how they want you to communicate with them. I know this seems like your cowtowing to your kids but hear me out. Just like we talk to team members or employees and ask them what is their learning style or how do they prefer to communicate. Email, voice mail, post it notes. The same goes for your kids. When they get to a certain age they might prefer to text. Yes, this might seem like a horrible idea for you as the parent but if they are willing to talk with you, who really cares. You might need to learn how to text. How amazing would it be if you did what they needed and in return got great communication with your kid.
The final thought I want to leave with you is this:
Don’t be so critical of your kids that they never want to talk to you. Listen, with not only an open mind but an open heart. Your family will be better for it.
5 Ways to Improve Communication with your Kids