It is a regular event to talk with your kids, hence healthy communication with your kids is vital. But, let’s admit it, as parents, time is limited, and it’s easier to keep the discussion light with our kids so that we can move on to the next task on our ‘to-do’ list. There’s a place in everyday life for small talk, but there are also moments when your kid needs you to check-in and listen more profoundly.
Your child may not tell you this, but sometimes he or she wants you to probe into their inner lives to find out what they think and feel. Not only can this support them to make better sense of their thoughts, but your relationship with them will also be improved.
They can instinctively perceive that you understand them better because you took the time and effort to care. Here are a few pointers that will help you promote healthy communication with children:
Listen with your entire body for healthy communication with your kids
Offer them your undivided attention when you feel that your child needs to talk. If possible, face them, maintain eye contact, kneel to get to the level of your kid, even turn your head to demonstrate that you are listening.
Pick up on the emotion
Take care of the feeling when your child has noticeable feelings in their vocabulary or their body language. Healthy communication with your kids requires emotional intelligence. Making an observation or reaffirming what you hear them say is always beneficial. This sends the message that they, as well as their feelings, are being taken seriously by you.
Acknowledge the emotions of your kid
Empathy is among the most powerful and soothing responses that we can offer to another human, particularly a child. You validate them when you accept those feelings. This involves certain emotions, such as rage, frustration, and disappointment, that we sometimes think of as “negative.” Typically, understanding their feelings is all the child wants to begin coping with the issue at hand. You sensitize them to the feelings when you affirm a child’s emotion and give them permission to experience it and even accept it in other individuals.
Delay correction and gather more information
When your child is opposed to you, avoid the temptation to automatically correct them, even if you think they’re incorrect. Healthy communication with your kids requires patience. Before reacting, hear them out. Better still, go an extra step and learn more about why they view things as they do by asking your child follow-up questions. This technique respects the emotions of your child and gets them talking. When you are prepared to hear their concerns rather than merely correcting them, you are bound to get more cooperation.
Try seeing the situation from the kid’s viewpoint
Try stepping into your child’s point of reference before reacting. Healthy communication with your kids means their point of view matters too. Parents expect their children to understand adult-like patterns of thinking and do not take into account how they might think or interpret the situation. What developmental needs would they have at that moment, that they can’t define or ask for directly?
For example, your child has an emotional breakdown in front of the babysitter as you and your partner are leaving the house for a much-needed night out because they don’t want you to go. You might ask yourself: what is my kid trying to say right now; what do they need me to be attentive to?
For instance, is their upset behavior a plea for warmth, protection, reassurance, or anything else you don’t understand? It is easier to be fair and patient with an effective intervention when you can see that these actions are related to their developmental needs.
Encourage your child to be diligent in thinking about solutions
Ask your child what he needs to happen or would like to modify when presented with a decision that you and your kid disagree with. This allows them to see that each problem has options. Let them try it if they can come up with a sensible solution to a problem. They also have more incentive to overcome difficulties as you inspire your kids to become part of the solution.
Ultimately, be the right role model to your child. This is because kids learn how to communicate by watching people closely, particularly their parents. This sends a strong message about good communication when you speak in a friendly way with your child (and others). Developing healthy communication with your kids is a long process, but it’s worth the time.
7 Tips for Effective Communication with Your School-aged Child – Mentalhelp