Communicating With Your Child

“Our kids pick up on our attitudes, our words and how we communicate. So what are you saying — both with your words and without? What you communicate, and how you communicate it, is important.” (5 Tips)

You communicate with your child everyday through your words, your touch, your expressions, your actions. Do you ever think about what you communicate to your child indirectly? It’s highly possible, even highly probable, that you don’t realize what you indirectly communicate to your child throughout the day. Before I get into that, though, let’s go over some definitions:

Direct communication involves saying what a person think and feels.

Indirect communication is acting out rather than directly saying what a person thinks or feels through tone of voice, facial expressions, and/or gestures.

Now, let’s go back to how much you communicate with AND to your child. I imagine that you can’t count or remember everything you’ve communicated. It’s a little scary, isn’t it?! We are communicating with our children even when we don’t intend to. Not only that, but we are sending our children messages that we often don’t mean to. The good news is that it’s pretty simple to communicate to your children in a positive way. Many of the things you already do are effective tools and patterns. For example, when you get down to your child’s level in a conversation, that’s huge. It makes the conversation less intimidating and shows that you value what your child is saying. When you stop what you’re doing by setting a book/magazine down, putting your phone away, or turning the radio off, it tells your child you value what they are saying and/or doing. When you tell your child, “You can do this”, with your words or by letting them walk through the door to school on their own, you communicate they are capable. When you simply smile at your child, you communicate your love for them. You already do some many wonderful things directly and indirectly.

Whether you feel stuck in your communication patterns or just want to be a more mindful communication partner for your child, these are useful tips to consider (5 Tips):

  1. Bring up conversations during the in-betweens. Instead of having your child sit down and engage in a face-to-face conversation with you (which can be intimidating), bring up conversations during routines or activities. You can have important talks while hiking or playing a game. This relaxed atmosphere opens up the lines of communication for your child.

  2. Listen intentionally. It can be very easy to allow yourself to fall into the trap of “waiting to respond”. When you do this, you’re not listening with the intent of hearing and understanding your child, though. Be an active listener, instead. Have an open posture, maintain eye contact, nod. You don’t always have to verbally respond, and if you do, it can be a simple, “Uh huh” or “I hear you”.

  3. Be open. Communication goes both ways. Many of us may practice this with our partner and friends but not with our children. Be open to sharing your experiences with your c