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5 Tips to Improve Communication Between You and Your Child

Teaching communication skills to our children is not only necessary in order to achieve effective communication, but is also a very important part of the socialization process.

As social beings, humans communicate with each other in order to exchange messages or information. And as any other form of social act, communication requires certain skills in order to be effective. Communication can be achieved through a number of channels and can be verbal, non-verbal or written.

When it comes to children, communication has different rules and can sometimes be difficult and challenging. Due to lack of communication skills, children often reach out to us in ways that we cannot interpret or understand and thus the message or the information that they are trying to send does not reach us.  For example, a crying baby might be trying to send the message that is hungry, or a tantrum might be a toddler’s way to tell us that he or she needs sleep.

Teaching communication skills to our children is not only necessary in order to achieve effective communication, but is also a very important part of the socialization process. Here are 5 tips that will help you to improve the communication between you and your child:

1. Start from day one

From the day they are born, babies try to communicate through crying.  This primary form of communication is a baby’s way to tell you that there are basic or emotional needs to be met. On a second stage, a baby will start receiving your messages and answer back, through sounds or facial expressions.  Be there, listen and respond; by talking, singing and hugging the baby. The calmness of a parent’s voice and the safety of your arms are actually the first lesson on how communication between you two should be. There is a ton of benefits for babies whose parents really pay attention to them; but when it comes to communication, ignoring a crying baby is the same (or worse) as ignoring a child who tries to talk to you.

2. Keep the communication channels open

Maintain a constant communication with your children by letting them know that you are available whenever they need you.  Limiting the communication based on your schedule, or to conversations on matters that you consider to be important, will only make children reluctant to talk to you in fear that they won’t meet your terms.  Have long or serious conversations with your children about important matters, but keep the communication open on the way to school or while you‘re making dinner. Talk about anything, even about silly things. Joke and laugh with them. This way you will teach them that they too, can talk to you about anything.

3. Principles

Follow some basic principles when communicating with your children, not only to encourage them to keep the communication open, but also to teach them communication skills.  

-Pay attention and don’t allow distractions during the conversation

-Be empathetic and share their feelings on the matter

-Get physically to the level of the child to keep eye contact

-Be polite and keep a friendly tone

-Avoid judgment, negative labels or any other behaviors that will undermine the child’s trust to you

-Let the child know that you accept him or her, no matter what and acknowledge their efforts to communicate

-Encourage the child to express his or her feelings

-Help the child plan a solution to the problem

-Encourage the child to take the next step and let him or her know that you will be there if things don’t go as planned

4. Be creative

To really encourage communication with a child, especially when the child is reluctant to do so, you have to be creative.  A funny or silly comment usually breaks down a child’s negative attitude and laughing is always a good way to start a conversation. Our article: “25 fun questions to have amazing conversations with your children” is a good place to start with. Keep also in mind that communication is not only about having conversations with your child.  You can also effectively communicate with a child through playing, singing, dancing, running, or any other activity.

5. Books

We cannot stress enough the importance of reading books, especially when it comes to helping children improve their communication skills. Through books, children build and enrich their vocabulary and learn how to communicate their ideas and opinions, while identifying with a book character helps them develop empathy and critical thinking. Our personalized books give children the opportunity to be the protagonists in beautifully illustrated stories, aiming to teach them useful life skills.

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