No matter how often your leadership skills are tested at work, you may feel as if your ability to communicate with and lead your children is not up to par. However, you should view your family as a small organization and understand that leadership and communication are very important at home as well. Effective communication with children is possible, and the tips below will help you grab the reins and lead your family.
Mind Your Facial Gestures
While verbal communication is incredibly important as it conveys a message to children, watching your facial gestures and making sure that they reflect what you really mean is one of the keys to effective communication with children. For instance, if your child interrupts you while you are reading a book and you have a “Why are you bothering me again?” look on your face, there is no doubt that this is going to affect the child. Rather, try to have a soft, patient look on your face when you address your child’s issue.
Unplug during Family Time Activities
Media, cell phones and internet are a huge part of our lives these days, so it comes as no surprise that many families rely on the television for their quality family time. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying a movie together from time to time, it is important to limit the amount of time your children spend being occupied by these devices. You could set a rule that there are no televisions or cell phones during mealtimes. Similarly, you could incorporate a rule in which the family must spend an hour per evening enjoying quiet activities such as reading together.
Create Routines that Encourage Interaction
Children need structure in their lives, much like your employees or coworkers. As such, you should always be sure that the routine you create for your children encourages interaction and communication. This not only provides them with the opportunity to practice their speaking and listening skills, but it also affords you some time to understand what is happening in their lives. Mealtimes, morning times and bed times are all great opportunities to interact and build effective communication with children.
Ask More Questions and Reduce Demands
There is no denying that many of us become bossy with our kids, and this is no way to bolster effective communication with children. In fact, it can cause them to become resentful and stop communicating with us altogether. Instead, ask open-ended questions when something needs to be done. For instance, “What could we do today so that your room looks better?” or “What color sheets do you want to put on your bed today?” encourages communication and allows your children to feel as if they are a part of the conversation.
Initiate a Weekly Family Meeting
The importance of weekly family meetings cannot be stressed enough. An hour every Wednesday evening, for example, is enough for everyone to discuss what is happening in their lives as well as any issues they may have with the family dynamic. We often fail to take the time to truly understand when our children are unhappy with something, and this can lead to behavioral issues as well as lack of communication. Family meetings are important ways to improve effective communication with children and make sure they have a chance to be heard.
Be a Positive Role Model for Communicating
When it comes to communication, your children will learn most of their skills from you in their first few years of life. If you are always grunting demands, yelling, sighing, avoiding difficult subjects or failing to look your child in the eye when you speak to them, they will pick up on these habits. You should always be a role model when it comes to effective communication with children so that they will learn skills they can use for the rest of their lives. In a nutshell, you should be sure to communicate in the same way you would have your children communicate.
Always Say “I’m Sorry”
Saying “I’m sorry” is a difficult endeavor for many people, even when they do feel remorseful. However, children are often fragile beings whose feelings can be hurt at the drop of a hat. Thus, if you find yourself upset over something that happened at work and you snap at your child over an innocent question, always take the time to say you’re sorry. This teaches your child that everyone is human and we all make mistakes, but it also says that it is important to apologize.
Effective communication with children is entirely possible, and it is best when we start teaching our kids how to talk to us, and others, at a very early age. However, it is never too late to change our habits and begin encouraging good communication skills not only for our kids, but also for ourselves.