Good communication makes everything easier

The parent-child relationship improves with good communication and communicating with young children can help them develop self-confidence.

Are you having a hard time communicating with your young child? Does it seem like you are constantly repeating directions? Learning how to positively communicate can have benefits for your child and your relationship with them.

Positive communication, both what we say and how we say it, focuses on respect for the child and involves speaking and listening. According to Virginia Cooperative Extension, communicating positively with young children helps them develop confidence, feelings of self-worth and good relationships with others. It also helps make life more pleasant for children and parents. Conversely, poor communication can lead to kids who “turn off” adults, conflicts, bickering and feelings of worthlessness.

 Michigan State University Extension recommends using the following communication tips when talking to your young child:

  • Use your voice effectively. Your tone of voice as well as what is said will guide your child’s response.
  • Speak slowly and calmly. When speaking with your young child, speak in a slow, calm and quiet manner and direct your eyes on your child.
  • Use few directions. Give a minimum number of directions. The directions that are given can be reinforced if necessary. Make sure you give your child time to carry out a direction.
  • Give clear short directions. Make sure you are clear when giving directions to your young child. Include the reason for the direction that you are giving. Tell your child what to do, instead of only what not to do.
  • Give choices. Guide your child by allowing them to make choices. You want children to have the experience of making up their own minds and deciding things for themselves. Remember to offer your child choices such as would they like to listen to a story now or later.
  • Use words to motivate. It is important that you use words that will motivate your child when communicating with them. The goal is to get your child to the point that they have self-motivation, which is by far is the most desirable type of motivation.

According to University of Missouri Extension, research suggests lots of positive communication and interaction characterize the best parent-child relationships. Their research also suggests that when adults stay in touch with children through attention and conversation, children may be less likely to act out or behave in ways that create conflict or require discipline.

For additional information on communicating with children, visit University of Missouri Extension.

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