5 tips for making sure your children actually hear you
Parents have different ways of communicating with their children. Some are aggressive, some passive and others assertive. The manner in which you choose to communicate with your kids impacts their ability to listen and learn from you. The way you speak to your children is usually reflected in the way they speak back to you. If you are not happy with the reactions you are receiving from your children, try to use some of the following tips.
Say your child’s name in a regular tone
Children are often daydreaming or preoccupied with thoughts of friends, school, recreation or a myriad of other things. Address them by their name in a positive tone. When you are sure they are truly paying attention to you, deliver the rest of your message. You may need to wait a few seconds while they finish what their mind is concentrating on. Avoid getting upset and yelling out their name. Make sure you are in the same room they are in.
Use positive language
Kind words help to build confidence and make them feel better about themselves. They will behave better and try harder. Deliver the same respect and praise to your children that you expect from them. Try to explain what you want your child to do. Rather than using “no” or “don’t” in your sentences, describe what you want them to do. “Take the dishes to the sink, please”. it takes extra effort to use positive phrases, and will take practice and patience. Eliminate name-calling, shaming or ridiculing children.
Make eye contact
If you need your child to pay attention, sit down next to them or stand closer to them until you have made eye contact. It is easier for them to give you their full attention and hear what you have to say when you are in close proximity. If you give a direction from another room or while you are on the computer, they are less likely to hear what you have to say. It shows good manners that they can mirror in their interactions with you and others.
Be aware of their feelings
A child that has a particularly rough day at school may not be receptive to anything you have to say. Before piling a list of chores or responsibilities on them, make sure you know how they are feeling. Intuition plays a big part in good communication with a child. Look for clues of depression, disappointment, despondency or sickness. Let them know that you are concerned for their welfare to help them trust and respond well to you. If they are upset, hear them out and wait for them to calm down. Connect first and they will listen to what you have to say.
Communicate with your children in a clear, positive, firm, consistent and confident way. This will let them know who is in charge and will challenge them to be a better child. Tell them what they need to do, why and how they need to do it. Suggest alternatives so they feel they have a choice in the matter. “When you finish your chores, you can watch TV or play a game”. Avoid the word “if” since it gives them a way out of doing anything. Engage your child in helping to solve a problem. Ask them what they could do to keep their room tidier. Make them feel that it is to their advantage to do something.
These are just a few tips that may help in your communication with your child. It takes forethought and patience to get them to really listen. There is a big difference between talking to young children and teenagers. Make room for those changes. Be positive and assertive in your interactions. Take time to listen to them, and they will be more willing to listen to you.