Having open and honest communication with our children is important. Being able to face both challenges and joys as a family is a great indicator of familial success. During the pandemic, when families were forced to quarantine and stay at home, we have seen the importance of having open communication and knowing what everyone, especially our children, has been thinking or feeling.
So, let’s explore five ways that you can have effective communication with your children.
Let your children know how you feel
Good communication allows for everyone, including you, to express themselves, clarify issues, seek solutions, and arrive at mutually beneficial relationships. Some parents tend to avoid talking about their problems to their children so as not to overburden them with the situation.
However, it is important that your children know an honest and open relationship with them. Effective communication is the best way to let them know that life is not perfect or always goes our way. Help your children see that you need understanding and that they should not add more stress or problems to the family.
Once you have established the importance of communication with your children, you should let them feel free to communicate their feelings properly too.
Schedule a time to be one on one
You should schedule one-on-one time with your children. Whether you have a lot of children or just one, giving them time is one of the best ways that you can ensure that your bond will remain.
Often family relationships dwindle if there is no time spent together. You should never miss an opportunity to bond with your children and determine how they are feeling, what they are thinking, or what they are going through. Being one-on-one helps avoid distractions, and you should use this opportunity to discuss a specific thing that your children might be dealing with at their age.
Schedule a time for family meetings
There is often that misconception among people when referring to a meeting that you are talking about a very strict and confrontational gathering. Rather, you should see to it that your children grasp that a meeting is an opportunity to understand one another and how to be a blessing to each other. They need to know that such gathering will help everyone in the long run.
A family meeting could be your Bible study time, or it could be your sharing time. Family meetings are perfect for general topics of conversation about how God is leading in their lives or how to become more helpful to others. It should not be an avenue for everyone to vent their feelings or frustrations, as this could become confusing or discouraging to younger children who may not want to discuss their feelings in front of their siblings.
A family meeting should be a safe time and a safe place for your children to feel that you are there for them. You should schedule the family time so that everyone looks forward to it.
Learn to listen more than we speak
Whenever people discuss issues, they need to be attentive and listen to what others have to say. Even if someone is upset, find a time and place to listen. Be clear about expectations and what steps need to take place to resolve any difficult situation. After all, God gave each of us two ears and one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we speak.
Then have them repeat what you’ve said so you can be sure that they too have listened and heard you properly.
Repeat back what the other person just said to create understanding
In difficult situations, it is important that your children see you trying to understand what is happening with them. No matter how emotional things, you should repeat back to them what you heard so they know that you got it or can clarify what they meant.
At the very least, this shows that you care and that you are making an effort to communicate with your children.
Read with your children
You can also establish good communication with your children if you take the time to read with them. Having a family-friendly magazine like that of Creation Illustrated will help a great deal. When you read with your children, you can see how they react to various things and certain situations in life. You can then ask them how they feel or how they should respond.
Establish the importance of communication
You need to establish the importance of communication with your children. With the steps that we have shared above, you can explain some of your own experiences when good communication and listening have been helpful.
Helping children listen to what you have to say points to an important Bible verse where the Lord said, “Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. ‘Honor your father and mother.’ This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, ‘Things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth’” (Ephesians 6:1–3).
Once you have established the value of communication, you will be able to flourish and explore many activities and adventures that will help your family flourish.