Tips For Encouraging Open Communication At Home
An atmosphere of open communication at home results in each family member feeling loved and respected. Feelings of worth can flourish only when individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, and there is open and comfortable communication.
Make communication a priority with your children. It’s one exercise that develops their confidence, self-esteem and boosts a healthy relationship.
Communication is a two-way street. It’s not always about trying to just teach them every moment, but about listening to them. Listen patiently and without any judgement. And make them know that when they need to talk to someone, you are there for them.
Here are a few tips how you can encourage open communication at your home with your children –
1 Regularly communicate with your partner
Talking builds understanding. It is one of the ways that partners connect. This means it is important to talk together in positive ways. Share with your partner your feelings and needs (especially as a parent). Talk about yours kids, their progress and behaviours. Also talk in front of kids about important family matters. Kids learn by observing, so when they see parents discussing and communicating freely, they pick up the same and tend to be more expressive.
2. Family meals are a good time to initiate conversations.
Eat atleast one meal of the day together as a family and talk about everyday things that happened in your day. This makes communicating with each other a lot easy and smooth.
2. Be an active listener.
While communicating, do away with distractions and listen actively. Turn off your phones, computers and television. This shows you are completely focussed on the interaction or the conversation.
4. Talk about feelings
Be open to talk about all kinds of feelings and emotions- anger, love, fear or anxiety. This helps children develop a ‘feeling vocabulary.’ Ask them how they are feeling and why they are feeling so.
5. Create a talking ritual.
The key to an open communication is to not change your way of talking, but instead respect natural times and ways of talking of each individual. What you may need is just a moment of few minutes of a talking ritual where everyone is aware that it’s time to talk, communicate, express no matter what.
6. Ask open-ended questions to encourage conversations
To make the conversation going, ask questions that make kids think and express more. Don’t ask simple ‘yes or no’ questions. Rather ask things like – ‘who was there?’; ‘what happened next?’; ‘what do you mean?’ etc. Kids talk when they see you are interested and they openly share their feelings and ideas.
7. Get creative to make them listen
As parents we come across moments where we need to make sure our child listens and understands what we are telling them. Lecturing and nagging will not help. Think about what is it that you really want your child to understand and how your child will best hear what you have to say next time you speak. For example, in my case storytelling works. So everytime I have to explain them something, I come up with a creative story that makes them listen carefully and attentively.
8. One-on-one conversation
Make time for one-on-one conversations especially if there are more than one kid at home. In case of siblings, sometimes old one talk over the younger ones, and younger one tend to keep quiet or just agree to what the older one said. Try to spend separate one-on-one time with each child where you can talk to his level and pay full attention to one kid at a time. It could be reading a book together, or walking to a park, etc.
9. Be a role model.
Children learn by example. Use words that you want your child to use. Make sure your tone of voice and what you do, send the same message. For example, never say ‘NO’ to a child while laughing. It is confusing for the child. Be clear in your directions.
Healthy communication with children is one of the most important and rewarding skills that we can develop as a parent. Improved family communication helps ensure that our home environment is warm and positive. It strengthens the bonds between parents and children and helps parents to get closer to one another as partners.
This post is part of the #BlogchatterA2Z challenge run by Blogchatter
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