The best ways to communicate effectively with kids
Communicating effectively with children is actually not too much different from communicating with adults. Today we will look at how to communicate effectively with children and reduce the instances of “no” you hear from your children.
Here are 7 ways to communicate with your child effectively. These 7 methods can be used independently or in combination.
1 Discuss their favourite things
Everyone is more willing to discuss the things they like, so when communicating with children, parents can take the perspective of the child and choose the topic that the child likes more.
For example, instead of asking your child what you did in school today? You can ask him or her “did the teacher tell a story about dinosaurs today?” Or “did the little dinosaur in the story yesterday find its mother?”
Children generally don’t know how to answer the question “What did you do in school?” or “What did you learn today?” Those questions are too general and open. So they either choose not to answer or simply answer “good” or “don’t know”.
If Mum and Dad refine the question, and the question is about the topic they like, they will be more willing to answer and answer with greater enthusiasm.
Do you know what your children really like?
What is the name of your child’s good friend in kindergarten or school?
What games do they like to play?
Who is the protagonist of the children’s favourite book or TV series?
2 Avoid directly discussing things that children do not like.
Children, like adults, experience embarrassment and may be unwilling to tell others that they feel ashamed. So if Mum and Dad know that their child is doing something wrong, try to avoid blaming or yelling at the child. Give your children time to think about it, or express their emotions first in their own way.
For example, your child draws on the wall. After you find out, try not to get angry immediately, so that the child will immediately have resistance caused by fear. You can say to your child “Hey, my white wall is gone. I feel very sad. I hope you will tell me later why you painted on my wall, and then we can discuss what should be done together”. Or you can say “Can you write down (or draw) the reason why you painted on my wall?”
If the child doesn’t tell you the reason, you don’t need to push it. You just have to express your sad emotions to them and tell him or her that you want them to tell you. In many cases, the child will finally tell you the reason, perhaps some days later. Even if they don’t say “I’m sorry”, they will show some apology in their own way because our children do not want to see us sad.
When you praise children, you should blurt it out, but if you criticize, think twice. Give the child and yourself time to calm down and then discuss.
3 Show respect by giving choice
Everyone likes being respected. No one likes being ordered to do this or that. The same is true with children. People tend to happily do what they decide themselves. So if you give your children the freedom to choose and make them feel that this decision was made themselves, they will do it more actively and enthusiastically.
For example, you want to leave kindergarten but the child will not let you go. Don’t secretly leave without saying goodbye. This will give the child a sense of insecurity. You are just disappearing. You can say to your child: “Would you want your grandma to bring strawberries when she picks you up in the afternoon, or let Mummy bring ice cream when she picks you up?” We try to put all the options that children like together. If we know that the child likes his or her mother to pick them up, and he or she especially likes ice cream, add these two options together, then the possibility of the child choosing this option is high and it’s easier for them to make the choice quickly.
Understand your child’s likes and dislikes, respect your child’s choices and don’t impose your own wishes. Recognize that children are also independent individuals with their own thoughts. Put the option that you want your child to choose as the last, so it’s easier for your child to remember.
What is the one thing children want the most from their parents? Attention! If Mum and Dad make their children feel that what they are doing has received the attention and acknowledgement, this is a very important point for children to develop good habits.
For example: The child wipes the table unprompted. If Mum and Dad say “ Oh, our baby is so good at cleaning.” The effect obtained in this way is much more effective than the parent nagging 100 times at the child when cleaning is more appropriate.
Learn to use specific expressions to affirm your child’s achievements.
- In a surprised tone, exaggerated approval. For example ”my goodness, why is this table so clean? Who wiped it?”
- Make the child feel special. For example “I have seen so many people wipe the table, but I haven’t seen anyone clean this well.”
- Express love directly. For example, “oh my, you wipe the table so clean. Mummy loves that very much!”
- Repeatedly express your acknowledgement. For example, “You clean the table so well, daddy, come and have a look, how clean the table is.”
- Add numbers. Especially effective for older children. For example, “I feel that the table has been wiped 99% clean, which is not something that everyone your age can do.”
5 Do it together
Humans are social animals. They are more inclined to work with other people. If you want your child to do something which they are able to do but that is not particularly easy for them, provide help and ask the child to do it with you. It will be easier for the child to earn your praise.
Mum and Dad need not worry about whether they always help their children or are causing unhelpful dependency. Though obviously this only applies to tasks that are genuinely within the capability of the child while not being overly simple. As the child grows and the difficulty of the task lessens, Mum and Dad’s gradual letting go will not only make the children feel that Mum and Dad love them very much by helping them, it also makes children feel a sense of accomplishment. “I feel that I can do something without the help of my parents now.”
If the child is unwilling to do it with you, you can ask the child if they can help you. You can say that daddy has sore hands today. “Can you help me by wiping the table with me?”
6 You are the most special
In the “acknowledgement” section above,, we mentioned how to talk to make the child feel that he or she is the most special. Not only will it make this easier for the child to form good behaviour habits, but it will also be of great help in developing the child’s self-confidence.
For example: “I think that only you can do this best.”
Of course, in order to avoid the child becoming unhelpfully proud, sometimes we can tell him or her that they are the most special to Mum and dad, rather than to everyone in the world. In addition, try to avoid comparing with one particular person, and don’t say to your child, “I think you wipe the table much better than your brother.”
Let children feel that their parents are very proud of them, but not in such a way that gives the impression Mum and Dad think he or she is at the top now, no one is above him or her. The last thing we want is to make the kid feel self-entitled or hubristic.
As parents, we often ask our children not to forget to express appreciation. However, in many cases, they forget to express their own gratitude to their children. Receiving gratitude from parents often makes the children feel “Mum is paying attention to what I do” or “Daddy likes what I do”. So parents should not be holding back with their appreciation.
Not only can we express our gratitude to the child after they do something good or desired, but also naturally express our gratitude before the child does something as a form of encouragement. For example: “honey, can you wipe the table? Thank you!”
To raise a child with a high EQ, parents must also learn to parent with a high EQ. Learning how to communicate effectively with children can make children accept our suggestions and opinions actively and happily. Learning to talk is not only about learning a language, but also about psychology. Practising how to talk with people effectively is the best way to enjoy positive communication.