I work with children on a daily basis and one of the biggest things I see is the lack of communication between children and parents. Although as a parent you think your child may be shy or they don’t have a lot going on in their lives, children who can’t talk to their parents as children won’t tell them if something is wrong in their little lives or when they become teenagers the problems becoming increasingly worse.
I commonly see “How was school?” A perfectly reasonable question but most of the time you will get “fine” as a response and most times you will not challenge it. However there are a few simple things you can do to talk to children to make sure you are getting the best out of them!
E- Explain to me about…
D – Describe to me…
An example of using TED could be rather than asking a child how school was, you can go through each of these and it may provide more of a responsive answer. On the other hand, you may still get fine and get “leave me alone”
2. Talking to them whilst doing an activity
Obviously you want to distract them too much i.e.when they are watching TV, listening to music. However if you give them an activity such as colouring, play dough or similar type of activities they may be more willing to have a conversation with you as they are not so focused on what they are saying.
3. Watch a child-appropriate thought provoking documentary/programme and discuss
If you watched Corrie you may remember last year there was a topic on sexual exploitation of young people on the programme. This was really good as children often watch this programme too and prompted questions to their parents and allowed parents a way of approaching the subject with young people.
Now days on Youtube there are loads of short programmes you can show your children so they understand the adult world a little bit better and they know they can discuss this with you.
4. Sit down to dinner to eat as a family (when you can)
OK this may seem really obviously to most people, but most families I work with don’t do this. I admit whilst Pippa is still a baby we eat watching TV, but when she is older most of the time I’ll be eating at the table. Rather than being distracted it’s a good time to develop communication skills and catch up on everyones’ lives.
5. One on one time
Again another obvious one, but if a child doesn’t have the time to build that relationship up with their parents as they grow older then they won’t want to talk to them. We all lead busy lives, but this could be as simple as having lunch, doing their favourite activity, taking them to the park or just watching a film with them
I hope you found this blog post interesting. What advice would you give for talking to kids/young people?
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