Effective Communication Matters!
Building an open and effective channel of communication with your children is key in teaching them how to communicate effectively when interacting with peers and other adults. The more communication that exists between parents and their children, the stronger their relationship may become. Here are some non-inclusive suggestions for parent to build strong and effective channels of communication with their children:
1. Reserve specific time (it does not have to be long) to speak to your children every day. Making sure you and your children make eye contact when speaking. You can ask them about their day in school, learn about a game they enjoy, speak about activities they would like to do and the reason for wanting those activities, speak about their friends, ask them of anything that may be worrying them, etc.
2. Speak to your children at their level of understanding and make sure you make sure your children understand your answers.
3. When clarifying your children’s question or comment you can clarify by saying, “did I hear you say”? “Did you state …”? “I Just want to make sure I understand you correctly.”
4. During the conversation with your children, eliminate distractions that could interfere with the communication process i.e.: electronics, other conversations, playing with pets, etc.
5. Make this communication time and process natural. Humans communicate naturally verbally and non-verbally; therefore, there is nothing strange about this process. The only difference here, is that you have made it a point to open the communication channels where it because the norm, versus the exception.
I hope these suggestions and comments help you build and/or strengthen effective communication channel with your child. Here are some resources to read on this topic:
Dr. Noé Vargas DBH, SSC
ACA's Director of Behavioral Health and Wellness