There are times when you sense that something is bothering one of your children, but it can be difficult to get kids to open up. This becomes frustrating and can make you feel helpless as a parent. In some cases, you may even push your child in the wrong way, making them clam up even more. Communicating with your kids is an important parenting skill – it helps you find out how you can help them and also enables your child to learn how to talk through problems, an important life skill. If you want to find out how to get your kids to open up to you, here are some excellent tips for improving communication with your kids.
Tips for Communicating with Younger Children
When it comes to communicating with younger children, it’s all about learning to get on their level. Kids age 10 and under communicate in different ways and as a parent, you need to learn how to get them to open up. Here are a few tips that can help when you are trying to communicate with younger kids.
Tip #1 – Draw Them Out By Talking About Their Favorite Things – Most kids think about things like their favorite toys, foods, games, or movies. You can draw younger kids out by talking about their favorite things, which will get them talking.
Tip #2 – Build a Connection – Find a way to build a connection. Sometimes something as simple as playing a little game, like asking them to guess which hand you have a treat in, can establish a connection between the two of you.
Tip #3 – Get on Their Level – You need to physically get on the level of your children. Instead of talking from above them, sit down with them so you are on their level. This makes you seem less intimidating.
Tip #4 – Tell Them Stories – Kids love stories, and telling your kids some stories can open up the doors of communication. You can use stories to teach them a particular lesson or to build a connection. Often the story is a great segue into more conversation between the two of you.
Tip #5 – Totally Focus on the Child – Make sure you focus totally on your child. Simply stopping for five minutes doesn’t take much of your time and it will make your child feel important.
Tip #6 – Use Questions – Questions can often be used with younger children to help them reason things through or to lead into more conversation. Avoid using “yes” or “no” questions, but ask questions that require more of a response to get them talking.
Tips for Communicating with Tweens and Teens
Of course, tweens and teens can be more difficult to deal with when it comes to getting them to open up to you. Sometimes they tend to hold back, thinking this is the grown up way to deal with things, since they want you to view them as being “grown up.” You definitely need to approach communication with caution with older children or you will end up pushing them away even further. Try these tips for better communication with your tweens and teens.
Tip #1 – Learn to Listen First – The first and most important thing you can do to get tweens and teens to open up is to learn to listen first. It’s easy to start talking without ever take the time to listen. Many kids of this age group don’t want to talk because they don’t think you want to know how they feel. Even if it is something that you don’t like, simply take time to listen.
Tip #2 – Respect Differences – As a parent, you need to realize that there are areas where your child is different and you need to respect those differences. Unless it is something dangerous, respect your child’s choices as much as you can. Your kids are not supposed to grow up to be “mini-me’s.”
Tip #3 – Avoid Negative Terms – When trying to get your tweens and teens to open up to you, avoid using negative terms when you are talking. Avoiding negatives can build a connection with them and will keep them talking. Using negative phrases will simply ruin communication between the two of you.
Tip #4 – Talk About Their Interests – To get them talking, talk about their interests. Ask about the new band they like, their favorite television shows, or other interests they may have.
Tip #5 – Avoid Judging All the Time – You also need to avoid judging them all the time. It is easy to judge their hairdo or the way that they dress. If it isn’t something that is really serious, avoid judging, even if you have to bit your tongue. They won’t talk to you if they fear being judged and criticized all the time.
No matter the age of your kids, communication is very important. Try using some of these tips with your children. While there isn’t a secret that works on every child, you will find that a combination of these tips can help your kids to start opening up to you. Once they begin to open up, treasure that communication and begin to build on it. Hopefully you will be able to build a bond and good communication that will last a lifetime.