Talking to your kids can be a real challenge and it’s tempting to fall into a pattern of not making the effort. Smart phones, homework, activities and work can all get in the way, but it’s no excuse. If you don’t have conversations with your kids on a regular basis you lose touch and talking to them becomes more and more difficult. Here are some tips on making meaningful conversation with your kids a regular occurrence at home:
You Have to Make Time For it
With everyone’s crazy schedules it can be difficult to sit down to dinner as a family every night, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try. Even if just you and one of your kids can sit down a few times a week and enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a bowl of ice cream together, it gives you an opportunity to hear about their lives and give them advice.
If you’re answering work emails and they’re playing Minecraft you’re not going to be able to connect in a meaningful way. Designate some times when you both put down the iPads, the smart phones and anything else that takes away your focus from each other. This may take some planning, but it’s worth it!
If you want your kids to listen to you, you have to listen to them. Listening builds trust and trust is a key element when it comes to having a meaningful conversation. Studies have revealed that after listening to a 10 minute oral presentation, the average person only retains about 50% of it! You’re only human, but you should be making a concerted effort to really listen to what your kids has to say. They truly notice when you’re not paying attention and when you don’t pay attention they start acting out.
This is absolutely going to require patience on your part and on theirs, but it’s important to remember that kids don’t have the same communication skills that adults do. That’s why it’s very important to create a time and space that feels comfortable for both of you. However, there are going to be times when your kid needs to talk to you and it’s not a convenient time for you. You have a life too, of course, but it’s important to acknowledge the fact that they need to communicate with you. Let them know that you’re there for them, even if you can’t give them your full attention.
Many of these discussions will revolve around your house rules and your kids will inevitably try to push the boundaries of your boundaries. Instead of caving, stay true to the rules, but listen to their concerns. They don’t have to like the rules, but they do have to follow them. You may be tempted to cave in out of frustration, but in the long run it will do more damage than good.
The more often you have meaningful conversations with your kids the better your relationship will be. If the communication between you and your kids is becoming more than you can handle, you may want to consider contacting someone who can help. Here are Sundance Canyon Academy, we’re ready to listen.