Some kids are naturally expressive, and they talk everything out, while others may need a lot of encouragement to be able to talk to you. The first thing is to be open to listening and giving your child your undivided attention.
Here are some tips on getting your child to talk to you and being open to listening:
- Set aside a time when you both can talk to each other without any interference. If face to face talking seems difficult, go for a walk and talk when you are side by side.
- Be receptive and open to all kinds of feelings, without getting angry or frustrated. This means that the talks will not just be happy ones, but also negative topics like anger, fear and anxiety.
- Remember that children do have the same maturity as adults do. So, think of the times when you were a child and how difficult it was to communicate when you have so much on your mind but do not have enough words to express it.
- Do not be in a hurry to respond. Let your child finish talking and then respond sensitively. When your child is talking, do not jump in or interfere. Never try to put your words in your child’s mouth.
- Refrain from lecturing. Lecturing is a one-way of putting your view across, while an engaging conversation fosters their own thinking process and conclusions.
- Make conversations inspiring for your child. Stories are a perfect way to inspire young kids. Always emphasize the positive.
- Use language that your child will understand, avoid using words that he may find difficult to comprehend. Avoid using slangs or complicated words – talk in the same sense as your child does.
- Let your child know that you are listening to him, repeat what he says and make eye contact.
- Be curious and interested in the conversation. Being actively involved in the conversation is extremely important to let your child know that his views and opinions do matter.
- Never judge, criticize, blame or get angry over something that your child has done or said. Work together as a team to solve your problems.
When you listen to your child, you get to know what they are thinking, feeling and going through. Childhood is a difficult phase, and with limited vocabulary, children often find it difficult to communicate their feelings. It is imperative that children be heard, so that they do not bottle-up their feelings. It also means that your children will listen to you more, because they have been heard. This opens avenues for healthy conversations, which are fruitful and brings parents and children closer.
Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.
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