Life is busy. There is no doubt that we can find ourselves rushing from door to door, flying through the schedule of life with little thought to how we are connecting with each other, especially our children.
Along with this busy lifestyle is the tiredness and overwhelm of life, so it stands to reason that we may forget or be too tired to truly pause, connect, and communicate with each other in a positive and profound way. But communication matters because our children thrive on our words and on our connection.
Encouraging a concerted effort to truly be present and communicate means paying attention, listening, and being conscious of how we deliver our own thoughts through our words, body language, and awareness.
What our little ones need is our full attention. By giving them valid time to discuss their issues with us they will learn to feel more confident, manage stress, and motivate themselves. Positive communication between us and our children helps to develop their sense of self. Ensure you:
- Pay attention to what they are saying when you can
- Encourage their opinions and ideas
- Be open and honest when they need to discuss something difficult
It doesn’t take an expert to interpret how we hold our body and what that means when we are talking with someone. Recognising our mannerisms, our facial expressions, and our body when we talk to our children is a vital part of communication. As they say, actions speak louder than words. When it comes to our body language we can:
- Improve our connection by maintaining eye contact. Not every child responds well to eye contact, however, so talking with them while we’re driving or walking beside them can be as effective
- Avoid showing our impatience or frustration. We can easily start tapping our foot, rolling our eyes, or sighing, but these actions will quickly break all connection
- Stay on their level. By squatting down or sitting on the same level, we enhance our connection
- Stay present. When talking to our children it’s best to stay centred, so try not to walk away from them or have your back turned
- Watch your tone of voice especially if frustration, anger, or upset starts to rise
Our children react and grow on positive phrases of encouragement - when suitable of course! We can build our children’s self-esteem and inspire them to be happy and confident by taking note of what they are doing, supporting, praising, and thanking them.
For instance, telling our kids that they did a great job tidying their room goes a long way when we commend their efforts and not just the results.