TIP OF THE MONTH
Communicating with Your Child
Healthy communication with your child is one of the most vital steps of parenting – Good communication helps children to develop confidence, feelings of self-worth, and build affirming relationships.
Guidelines for talking with your child:
- Listen! Listen! Listen! – Give your child your undivided attention when they want to talk. Children can tell when their parents are distracted or uninterested, so put that smart phone away! Show them that you are interested in what they have to say, and encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings.
- Be patient – Children often think faster than they speak, and with limited vocabularly, they often need time to find the right words to express themselves.
- Hear them out –Let them finish what they have to say before cutting them off or jumping in with your opinion. Sometimes, they just need a silent, sympathetic ear to listen to their worries, concerns or fears, which are often expressed slowly and hesitantly.
- Two-way communication - Make conversations a two-way street rather than a power struggle – make your child feel like you are talking with them and asking them, rather than talking to them and telling them.
- Non-verbal communication – A vital skill in effective communication is listening, and empathising with your child’s non-verbal messages communicated through their tone of voice, their facial expressions or body language, their energy levels, or changes in behaviour patterns.