7 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Health Through Effective Communication
As an adult, you recognize the importance of communication in a relationship, whether it’s between you and the checkout person at the supermarket; between you and those you work with; or between you and your spouse. But did you know that forming an open line of communication with your children is equally as important?
It’s true. Not only does consistent, effective communication with your children help you to understand them better, while helping them to become better at speaking what’s on their minds, it also works as a solid bonding agent. In fact, if your otherwise healthy child is regularly misbehaving, there is often a strong correlation between this behavior and impaired communication between them and their parents. This is because children tend to act out when they don’t have the ability to negotiate, when they feel insecure, or when they feel like they’re not being heard.
With this in mind, what are some of the best ways of improving communication between you and your child? Let’s take a look.
7 Ways to Engage Your Children through Communication
With this in mind, here are some everyday tips you can use in order to create more effective communication with your children, while also helping to solidify your bond with them—even more than you already have.
- Talk with your children every day. If you’re unsure how to begin the conversation, simply ask them how their day went. And when they respond, be sure to dig deeper than simple yes or no answers by engaging them with questions that require detail.
- Actively listen to what your children are trying to tell you. Children often understand concepts much more complex than they’re able to communicate, so be patient as they try to let you what’s on their mind.
- Give your children age-appropriate choices. In other words, if it’s time to go to bed, tell them “You can go to bed now or in 10 minutes. Your choice.” Or, when dinner time rolls around, give them a choice between two different food options. However, what you ultimately give them a choice about isn’t important, as long as you’re giving them a choice in the first place.
- Affection is communication, so be sure to shower it on your children. It’s not enough just to tell them that you love them; you have to show them. In fact, there is some interesting research that shows hugging a child 30 times per day may drastically change their behavior for the better, and can even improve somatic symptoms such as abdominal pains or headaches.
- Be encouraging. When your child comes to you with a concern, let them know that they have the power to formulate a solution. Also, it’s a good idea to be honest with your advice and to avoid giving it while you’re frustrated or angry.
- Slow down. Life is hectic, but don’t let that get in the way of a heartfelt conversation with your child. Think of a previous discussion you had with them, bring it up again, and see where it leads. This will go a long way toward letting your child know that you’re listening to them, and that you care about what’s going on in their life.
- If your child does something wrong, be sure to let them know that you’re disappointed with their behavior and not with them. Although this is a small distinction, it’s an important one. On the other hand, if you’re the one who’s made a mistake, own up to it and apologize. This is not the time to be proud, as your children will model their future behaviors based on what you show them while they’re growing up.
Need to Talk with a Physician About Effective Communication with Your Child?
If so, contact the professionals at Advanced Family Medicine today at (425) 453-6838. We’ll be pleased to help!