How To Have Better Dialogue With Your Kids
As parents, we always want the best for our children. That’s a given, but sometimes we may lack original ideas and ways to give our children the best. And one of the most overlooked items in providing quality parenting towards our little ones is communication. Communication is vital in all forms of life. Not just with our children, but in marriages or relationships, in our work, when we are creating, and so on. As a parent, you may think it’s best to be stern, firm, and in control. But this may not resonate as effectively as you’d like.
This doesn’t make you a bad parent, and you aren’t alone. A lot of parents would like advice as to how to talk to little kids. It’s not easy, but with a little intuition and open-mindedness, you will find talking with kids isn’t all too difficult. Here’s how!
Make Yourself Available
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many parents actually isolate themselves. They may create barriers, or restrictions without even noticing.
For instance: Not now honey, mommy is watching TV.
We all enjoy alone time, but if your child is coming to you, and you always shoo them away because it’s “your time,” then your child won’t come to you when there’s something important to talk about.
Try setting up a time with your child after school. This is when your child is ready to share everything they experienced at school. Their little minds have been working and they can’t wait to tell you all about it. Take a half hour to an hour after school, and chat about their day.
Use Positive Language
The Child Development Institution says that creating a positive overtone towards your child will ultimately produce a positive result. When a child continues to hear “you can’t,” “don’t,” “stop,” then they will tend to be unsure of what they can do.
Also, shy away from connotations that are negative. Don’t use name-calling (don’t be a baby), shaming or ridiculing. As a parent, you may think that you are being strict and enforcing discipline, when in fact you are only causing pain and hurt. Telling your child he or she was “bad,” or “I was so embarrassed by you today,” isn’t going to produce a positive outcome.
You may be wondering, how will I be able to convey dismay at my child’s actions or behavior?
Instead of nitpicking the bad, try to encourage with “You really did a good job cleaning up your room.”
Related: How to Discipline Your Kids
Being On The Same Page With Your Partner
If the other parent isn’t on board with this approach, or disagrees with certain elements on interacting with your child, then the child will be confused as to who they can talk to and when.
Consistency and cooperation will go a long way for both parents in the household, as long as they adhere to a parenting plan.
Ask Questions, Seem Interested, Be Interested
Talking with kids is like talking to a mini version of yourself. Our children are products of our own selves. Of course, they will develop into their own being. That said, your child is also a product of their own environment, meaning that if they sense you aren’t interested and engaged with their learning or progress, then they may try to shut themselves off from you.
Always ask your child, after school, open ended questions. Avoid the “yes” or “no” responses. Instead, try asking, “what did you enjoy most today in school?” This will allow your child to give further details, rather than a moot and forced yes and no answer.
Be Firm, Yet Gentle
You must be firm with children, and children respond better to a firm position and tone. That said, as mentioned above, complimenting and rewarding good behavior, and engaging bad behavior with constructive and positive language will produce a better result.
Don’t be afraid to let your child know that you aren’t thrilled about certain actions they have taken. But, you need to understand that your child is learning. They are testing what they can, and cannot do. It’s up to you to lead by example and correct them in a firm, yet gentle, way. You don’t need to yell, but you can let your child know that you do mean it.
Eye Contact And Use Their First Name
Do you like it when you are addressed by your first name? What about eye contact? Doesn’t it feel as if you are being more respected and taken more seriously when someone uses your first name and has eye contact with you? Yes, and your child is no exception.
By addressing your child by their first name, they will know that you are being sincere and that you are listening. It’s like a reminder. Using eye contact only cements the act into completion.
Your kid won’t be able to look away, or tell a tall-tale, especially when you are making eye contact. So, if something you feel is bothering your child, be sensitive towards their needs by making steady eye contact and, by using their first name to find out what it is.
Keep Learning, Keep Positive
Ultimately, leading by example is the ultimate way to get your child engaged. If you are positive, and present a positive environment, then the chances are your child will feel positive.
Remember, you can never stop learning about your child. Parenting is just as much about being taught and learning as it is parenting or teaching. And guess what, children are teaching us more about ourselves than we probably ever would have anticipated.
Talking with kids can be a fun experience, and it should be. It can also be important in forming trust and a bond. Don’t break that trust or communication. Keep yourself positive, don’t use negative language, scold, ridicule, and be as available as you can. Talking to little kids doesn’t have to be difficult, and when you use a few of these ideas, you’ll find that you will learn much more about your child than ever before.