Asking your children questions and receiving proper replies is no easy feat. Don’t let your interaction with your child suffer since the communication bridge between parent and child is one that should be strong. Here are seven tips for effective communication with your child.
Connect with your child before starting the conversation itself. If you keep glancing at your phone, TV, or book while talking to your child, they will feel like you’re ignoring them. Take care of all your priorities and prior commitments before you begin talking to your child.
Even if you are good at multitasking and can still hear what your child has to say, keep the focus on them and only them. Make them feel like they’re the only thing of importance in the room and they are more likely to open up to you. Also, stay in the same room as them and never have conversations from across the house. If your child comes up to talk to you, stop whatever you’re doing and listen.
Maintain eye contact
Maintaining steady eye contact while asking them questions shows that you are serious. Establishing proper intent is very important when attempting to communicate with someone. A small gesture like eye contact may not seem significant, but it means the world to your child.
Eye contact can get the truth from your child. It also helps you spot subtleties in your child’s dialogue. They might be trying to tell you something without directly saying it, and you would have missed this if you were distracted.
Ask open-ended questions
Try asking questions that warrant a more informative answer than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. At the same time, keep your questions short and simple so the child doesn’t get confused.
It’s better to avoid asking the generic “How was your day?” which will result in “fine” or “okay”. A better question would be “What did you learn?” or “What interesting events occurred?”
This way, you show your child that you are interested in their day. Another technique is to start off with a statement or to talk about how your own day went before asking them about their own.
Let them speak
If you bombard the child with three or four questions at a time, they are less likely to respond properly. Badgering your child with lots of questions will put them on the defensive and it will seem like you’re against them, which is the complete opposite of what you want.
Talking about school with their parents shouldn’t feel like a chore to them. Some of the questions you have may be answered along the way. Always wait to hear the complete story. Granted, the information will come from their side so it might not be 100% true, but at least you’ve heard all that your child has to say. Looking at the scenario from their point of view gives you perspective about them.
Also, avoid interrupting them when they are talking. You should give them the benefit of the doubt. Side with them on any arguments or conflicts that occur unless you are absolutely sure they are in the wrong.
Keep your cool
Arguing wastes time and energy and causes both you and your child to get upset. When you yell at your child, it makes them nervous. When they get nervous, they get scared, which is when problems happen. They have now forgotten everything you said and are focused on defending themselves from your wrath. It could even generate a feud between you both.
More often than not, the child will realize their error and will apologize. Just take a deep breath and help them resolve the issue. We know this will seem like a tough task to ask as children are difficult to handle at times, but you have to stay calm.
Children make mistakes. You certainly did when you were young, and so will your child. It is a part of growing up. It’s okay for them to make mistakes as long as they learn from them. This doesn’t mean that you should let them off the hook, but that you should mentor them on right and wrong.
Be proud of their accomplishments and don’t harp on their faults. You are the most important person for your child. More than their friends or teachers, it is you, the parents, who shape your child’s future the most. Forgive them, but at the same time remember that letting them get away with minor mischief may lead to bigger problems going forward.
If keep pestering them about something wrong they did, they will revert back into their shell and refuse to reveal information again. After all, how can you expect them to forgive you if you don’t do the same to them?
Set an Example
Kids learn a lot from watching their parents act, and are sure to pick up your mannerisms and adopt them. Therefore, always be courteous and honest with them.
If you’re using cuss words or fly into a fit of rage, your child will emulate this behavior when they grow up. Stop everything and listen to them, no matter how important the other work is. If you absolutely have to attend to something else, excuse yourself for a few minutes and complete it.
Instead of an order like “Do your homework now”, say something like “Do you want to do your homework now or in five minutes?”, and hold them to their word. This makes it seem like a friendly conversation and gives them a choice. This method is much better than bossing them around.
If you inculcate these habits with your child when they are small, they will be much more willing to tell you stuff when they’re teenagers.
Let’s Practise has many more articles on parenting tips. We wish to help children excel not just in studies, but in life. We specialize in students from classes 3-9. You can visit our contact page if you want to get in touch with us.