5 ways to communicate better with your child

How to talk to your child so that they listen and how to listen to them so they talk to you, are two of the most difficult tasks of parenting, and at the same time they are also the key to all your problems related to raising a child. Here’s a lowdown on five simple habits that can help you communicate with your child better.

Listen attentively: When your child comes to speak to you, make sure they have your undivided attention; it will show that you are interested. Listening to them while watching TV or working means you are not being empathetic towards their problem, which may act as a barrier.

Respect their feelings: The way children feel directly impacts the way they behave. Little acts like acknowledging by nodding or responding with an ‘umm or ‘oh’ without intercepting goes a long way in making them approach you comfortably and vent out. Also, try and name their feelings. For example: When he says, “I feel like punching my friend because he stole my pen”, respond by “are you that hurt” instead of saying “no, you can’t do that”, and then gently tell them why it is not okay to hit another person.

Stop questioning or saying no all the time: Being critical of your child’s actions or saying no to them all the time will weigh heavy on them, and they may try and block communication channels. By letting them do their little thing teaches them to learn from the consequences. Of course, as a parent, you can put in a word of caution of what it may lead to, and guard them so that they don’t get hurt in the process.

Reward and punishment: Look for alternatives to punishment such as telling your child why the action was wrong or how to make amends. On the other hand, reward them—even if it’s a word of appreciation—when they do something praiseworthy, something even as small as cleaning their room.

Let them make choices: From the colour of the trousers as a child, to subjects to study, to what they want to be when they grow up, give your kid the freedom to decide, while guiding them about the pros and cons in a friendly manner. With freedom comes responsibility, so if they have been given that space, chances are they will make their choices more wisely when they grow up.

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