Communicating with your child

Effective Communication

Effective parent-child communication is the foundation for building your child’s self-esteem and fostering loving, supportive relationships with others. Keep the lines open and listen actively to what your child has to say…

  • get your head physically on the same level as your child’s when you talk
  • use words and phrases that your children understand
  • avoid including too many ideas in your messages
  • repeat what your child is saying to you using different words
  • give clear and consistent instructions defining the exact behaviour you want
  • make sure your nonverbal messages do not interfere with or contradict your verbal messages
  • make your messages complete and specific
  • pay full attention to your child and maintain eye contact with him or her to enhance communication
  • avoid thinking about your reply before listening to everything your child has to say teach your children not to interrupt and model that behaviour yourself
  • ask what, how and why questions that promote discussion rather than questions requiring only yes or no answers
  • praise your child for asking questions…
  • be alert to body language and respond in kind just as you do with friends

Encourage responsibility…

allow your children to solve as many of their own problems as they can

  • let your child answer some of his/her own questions
  •  do not do things with a child that he/she can do for himself
  • encourage your child to take risks
  •  praise accomplishments
  •  invite and consider your child’s thoughts and feelings
  • allow your child to make mistakes
  • assist your child in weighing choices and examining consequences
  • communicate your support to your child
  • increase your child’s responsibilities
  •  praise your child without words by using smiles and hugs