In previous generations, people didn’t have to worry about good communication skills because they had time to talk to one another.
With so many changes in today’s fast-paced world, many things can interfere with good interaction between parent and child. Here are some good ways to encourage good communication with your child.
Be an attentive listener. When your child has something important to tell you, give them your undivided attention. Even if the topic seems trivial to you, it may be very important to them.
Be patient. Even though you may want to interrupt what your child is telling you, be patient. Let them finish what they have to say.
Paraphrase. It’s helpful to repeat to your child, in your own words, what you think you heard them say. This will avoid misunderstandings and will give them an opportunity to clarify what they want to tell you.
Be sensitive to your child’s body language. Pay attention not only to your child’s words, but also to their body language, such as nervous behavior, or facial expression.
Focus on one topic. When you have something important to say to your child, focus on only one issue at a time. It’s better to convey a clear message on one topic than to confuse your child by addressing several issues.
Be brief. Keep your message as short as possible because young children have a rather limited attention span.
Keep your message simple. Use simple words- one or two syllable words, if possible, which your child will understand. Use no more than nine or ten words in a sentence.
Deal with the here and now. The concepts of time which young children have are different from those of adults. Young children tend to live in the present rather than in the past or the future. Reopening old wounds from the past will only get in the way of what you want to communicate right now.
Be aware of your own body language. When talking to your child, be aware of the nonverbal messages your body may be communicating. Use good eye contact, for example, to convey your message. Young children pay more attention to your facial expression and to the emotional tone of your voice than to the actual words you use.