Written by Kristin Tallackson, M.A.
We all have those days where kids are running around, and it feels like everything we say goes in one ear and out the other. This usually leads to frustrated kids and even more frustrated parents. Children may insist they didn’t hear us, and parents insist, “I’ve told you ten times!” Communication with children can be hard. Here are a few tips to make it easier.
Get on the same level as your child.
Literally get on their level. If you are speaking to a toddler, get on your knees, so that your eyes meet theirs. This is important for a variety of reasons. First, you are able to see the world from your child's point of view. This gives you a better understanding of what may be capturing their attention. Second, it helps your child feel safe and in control. You are showing your child they have your full attention, and you are listening to them. Imagine if you were being yelled at by someone 5 feet taller than you… a little frightening right?
Make eye contact
Eye contact is SO important. It not only tells your child you are listening to them, but it shows you your child is listening to you. Eye contact can also be a sign of respect and empathy.
Point out emotions
When you see your child upset, like when they are told it’s time to leave, define what they are feeling. For example, "I can see that you’re upset that you had to clean up." Expressing and describing emotions can help children understand the normalcy in experiencing emotions while also feeling understood. Naming emotions also helps children understand which emotion they are feeling.
Listening and talking to your children is the key to a healthy relationship. These can help you push pass the frustrations of daily parenting and connect with your child on their level. I love this parenting quote, "Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big because to them all of it has always been big stuff."
Written by: Kristin Tallackson, M.A.
Kristin is a counselor at Heights Family Counseling and is licensed in two states. Kristin's counseling approach is to offer a safe place for you to process and work through a multitude of circumstances, while offering valuable insight and perspective into whatever journey you may find yourself. Her philosophy is to embrace you where you are, equip you with tools, coping mechanisms and knowledge, and empower you to take those tools and lead a fulfilling life. Read more about Kristin at https://heightsfamilycounseling.com/amy-rollo/