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Communication Tips for Parents: How to Actively Communicate with Your Kids

22 Sep 2014 – 02:21 PM EDT

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Communication doesn’t come easy for everyone and we should never assume that because we are parents communicating with our kids is as simple as saying good morning, sitting down to a family meal and a goodnight tuck in. There are various communication tips and tools you can use to actively and effectively talk to your kids (and even your moody unhappy teenager) that may further strengthen the bond you share.

Kids just want to be heard and appreciated. Unfortunately, with the hustle and bustle of today’s non-stop schedules, many kids get a quick uh-huh, nod or a grunt of an answer when they try to talk to their parents. (and vice versa) This is not to say it is the parent’s fault as the stresses and responsibilities of today are higher than ever, but there are ways that you as a parent can make communication within the family a bit smoother and become a regular occurrence.

Make the Time

All kids really want is your time and attention. You can learn all the communication tips possible, but it all starts with making time for your child. Make time for your kids and talk to them about anything and everything that may come to mind. Let them speak freely as you work on a puzzle together or make a family fort. Ask them about their interests, likes and dislikes. If your kids are older and if they go to school already, ask them about school, their friends, sports and favorite subjects. The more time you have available for your child, the more they will feel listened to and appreciated as a family member.

Communicate During Play

Whether you plan a family sport day or go camping, it is all healthy communication if you are present in the current moment. Any activity that you do with your child that does not involve screens, video games or computers, is quality time shared. Many people believe that when they become parents that playtime ends. It is completely opposite. The moment you bring your little bundle of joy home from the hospital, a whole new world of play opens up and the fun has just begun!

Talk on Their Level

When you speak to your kids, try to reach their level of understanding. Avoid using big words than they cannot understand and use examples and experiences that they can relate to according to their age range. Kids do not understand the responsibilities of an adult until they become one, so do not expect them to know what you mean.

The best form of communication is honest communication, so the next time your daughter or son asks you if you had a hard time in high school or if you were bad at math, let them know the truth and share your personal experience. This form of communication will open up doorways of communication in the home if your child knows that “Super Mom” or “Super Dad” is human too.