In a world filled with gadgets, you may find it difficult to communicate with young children. The challenge can be stronger when you are a single parent because there are so many things that need your attention. How then, can you communicate with your young child in the best possible way so that they know that you are there for them for every problem that they encounter?
Let us share some tips on how to improve your communication with your young child.
1. Talk to your child while doing something else
If you are a single parent, your child is likely to attend childcare at a young age. It is therefore, difficult for you to know everything that happens to your child during the hours that you are at work even if the teachers are very communicative. One good way to learn more and get your child to confide in you is to talk to your child while you are both doing something else together. The idea is that your child will open up faster if he or she is not having eye contact with you. Hence, pay attention to the talk you have with your child when you are doing something else, like walking to school, doing activities, bathing and putting your child to bed.
2. Observe your child’s conversational style
Every child is different, so you may want to spend some time to observe your child’s conversational style if you are clueless about it. Some kids like to converse in the morning before school, while others like to talk only after school, and some others only open up at bedtime. Find out when your child is most willing to talk, and create bonding activities with him or her during that time frame. More likely than not, your child will start talking to you more often if you are available during the times when he or she is opening up for conversations.
3. Use positive language
Children in general respond better to positive language. When speaking with your child, try to use positive language all the time. This includes making requests. When you are talking to your child, do not demand that they avoid doing certain things; instead ask them to do what you want them to do using positive words. At the same time, saying “Please”, “Thank you” and “You’re welcome” makes the child feel appreciated and will enhance the communication between you and your child.
4. Make your request simple
When communicating with a young child, use simple words to ensure that your child understands what you want. Complex and long words confuse your young child so it is advisable to use short, clear and consistent words to make your requests.
5. Respond like a friend, not a parent
Your child needs you to be a real person, not just an advisor. Respond with real emotions but be careful not to go over the top either. Acknowledging your child’s emotions, such as joy, fear, anger is a great way to let your child know that you are listening to them and validating their emotions. During everyday conversations, respond the same way you would respond to a friend when your child talks to you about something at school. Reacting appropriately helps your child to understand that you respect him or her as a person. This will encourage them to talk to you more often and share their innermost feelings.
6. Make use of the small details
Sometimes, your child may have some issues or problems in school, but feels ashamed to tell you about it. Instead, they will tell you about other seemingly trivial situations. Make use of these trivialities to discover more deep-seated problems when your child speaks to you. For example, if your child tells you that he is in the library during lunch, ask him “what book are you looking for” instead of asking “why are you in the library during lunch time?” You may be surprised at what you can discover when using this technique.
7. Talk about yourself
If you want your child to talk to you about their day, start the conversation by talking about yourself. Asking your child “how was your day” is not going to be a great conversation starter, so start by talking about your day. It is likely that he or she will begin to ask questions about your day and become more willing to share his or her day with you.
8. Stay available when talking to your child
Lastly, respect your child the same way that you will respect your friend. Stay available when your child is talking to you. Do not become too busy talking to your child that you forget to listen to what he or she is saying. Always remember that talking involves two-way communication. If you are busy at the moment that your child wants to speak with you, either put aside your task for later or request kindly that your child speak to you later. However, do remember to follow through to speak with him or her at a later time, else your child might feel that you are not following through your promise.
Communication is an art but it can be learned through constant practise. If you feel that you are not communicating well with your child, try out the tips above!