Every time we interact with our children, we communicate with them. Communication is verbal and non-verbal (tone of voice, looks, hugs…). The way you communicate with your child determines their emotional development, their self-esteem, and the way they establish relationships with others.
Parent-child relationships improve greatly when there is effective communication. So what is effective communication? Effective communication is a type of communication in which we get the message across in a way that is understandable and clear to the receiver without causing doubt, confusion, or possible misinterpretation.
The benefits of parents communicating effectively with their children are numerous. For one thing, parents who communicate effectively show respect for their children. Children feel that their parents listen to and understand them, which boosts their self-esteem. In addition, children know what their parents expect of them and are more likely to be able to deliver. On the other hand, children become more secure in their position in the family and maybe more cooperative.
If, on the other hand, parent-child communication is ineffective or negative, it can make children feel that they are not important, that their opinions are not important, and that no one listens to them. They may also feel that their parents are not helpful to them and that they are not trustworthy.
So how can we communicate effectively with our children and improve our relationship with them?
There are many tips on how to communicate effectively with children, here, we are going to talk about 5 that we consider the most relevant to communicate effectively, clearly, and respectfully.
- Listen actively to your children.
Active listening helps children feel heard and understood. You can smile and nod when your child is telling you something to show that you are listening and really care. It is vital to get down to eye level with your child when talking to you, this helps them feel more confident and connected to you.
Show your child that you are listening carefully to what he or she is saying by asking questions: “what? “why?” and “how? This also helps your child improve their communication skills by teaching them how to tell a story and what details to include. Once your child has finished speaking, you can repeat what he or she has just told you using different words.
- Speak clearly to your children.
Use language that is understandable to your child and appropriate for their age. Be clear and specific, and do not use derogatory words. Using kind language helps to set a positive example for your children. It is important for parents to know how much information their children need and to ensure that this information is age-appropriate. Remember that the conversation should make the child feel respected and loved. In addition, it is important to communicate at the child’s level. When parents communicate with their children, they must communicate verbally and physically at the child’s level.
- Focus on your child’s behavior.
If you are angry with your child about something, make sure that your criticism and comments are directed at your child’s behavior and not at your child as a person. For example, instead of saying, “I don’t like that you are messy,” you can say, “I don’t like that you leave your clothes on the floor. Likewise, when it comes to praise.
When you praise your child for specific actions, you help them feel good about themselves and let them know what behaviors you like. Instead of saying, “good job!” try to be more specific about the behavior: “I noticed that you put away all your toys after playing. Good job!
- Have fun with your children.
It’s important to have fun together and enjoy lighthearted conversations. This helps to strengthen the parent-child relationship. You can find ways to relate to your child by telling them something positive about something that interests them, paying attention to their interests, and joking together. On the other hand, you can plan family get-togethers or outings. These meetings can be planned once a week. They are a good opportunity to talk about everyday details and enjoy family time together. The important thing is that each member has time to talk and be heard by the others and that you spend quality time together.
- Lead by example.
Think about the example you are setting. Parents are their children’s introduction to the world. What your child sees you do is as important as what they hear you say. Don’t say what you don’t want your children to say.
Remember that kindness and love are the best ways to bond and communicate with your children.