1. Take advantage of the ‘in-betweens’
Between school, work, and everything else, we know it can be hard to find the time to have a proper conversation with your children. But your kids are most likely to talk during all those in-between moments, like walking or driving to school together, bath time, or bedtime. Try to find something you and your children can do together (something that doesn’t include technology). These in-between moments will provide a great opportunity to learn about your children’s interests.
2. Let them know you’re listening
When your children are talking about things that affect or interest them, stop whatever you are doing and listen. Sometimes they say things that aren’t that interesting or relevant, but you should make them feel like their thoughts and opinions matter. If you’re staring at a screen while your child is telling you about their day, you’re not setting a good example on how communication should be handled. And if you’re arguing or having a heated conversation, listen to their point of view and let them complete their point before you respond.
3. Stay brief
Communicating with children doesn’t have to be hard – so keep it simple. The longer you ramble on, the more likely it is that your kid will tune you out. If you feel like your child isn't listening and you have to repeat yourself, try to get their attention first. Look them in the eye and say “Are you listening?” or “Can I ask you something?”. Too much talking isn’t effective. It gives your child the impression that you’re not quite sure what it is you want to say.
4. Treat them with respect
Kids will tune you out if you appear angry or defensive. We’re not saying you’re not allowed to get upset, but try to soften strong reactions when communicating with children. Keep your tone warm and express your opinion without putting theirs down. It’s also always important to be open to discussion; no one wants to listen to someone giving orders. Give them choices, like “Do you want to take a bath or brush your teeth first?”.
5. Let them know you have feelings and interests too
Don’t forget to talk about yourself, especially if you want your kids to talk about themselves. You can talk about your day, your job, your hobbies, or anything that could trigger a conversation. When you bring up stories about yourself, your kids might find something they relate to and bring up a similar story. It’s also important to let your children know that you have feelings too. You can express the depth of your emotions with phrases such as “It makes me sad that you lied to me”. Don’t spend too much time talking about yourself when communicating with children – it could overwhelm or bore them.
You need to make time for your children if you want to effectively communicate with them. The best way to reconnect and bond with your children is to take a holiday together. Holidays will pull a family together and reinforce the fact that quality time is essential. Marjal Costa Blanca Camping & Resort is a great destination for holidays in Alicante, and it has endless entertainment for the whole family. Contact us to make a booking.