For today's Parenting Tip, we're going to talk about proper, effective communication. We're not necessarily talking about answering the endless "but why?" questions (and if your child hasn't gone through that stage yet, then brace yourself, it's coming!). We're talking about taking the time to explain your decisions so that your child understand the reason behind them.
Parenting Tip - Communication
We’ve all been guilty of saying things like; "don’t do that", "do this", or a child’s least favorite answer: “because I said so!” without really offering our children a valid explanation as to why. Saying something like: “please don’t kick the ball in the house, you could break something” or “you can’t have another treat as we’re about to have dinner” is far more effective and respectful than a flat out “stop that” or “no.”
By explaining your reasons, they are more likely to understand why you've said no (or yes!) and can learn from it. Does it mean they won't nag for another cookie right before dinner again? Probably not (the cookie force is strong!) but they might think twice about kicking the ball at the TV.
Children copy us as they learn, so try to set the example and standard of communication that you would like to see mirrored back at you. Talk to your child as the intelligent beings that they are, and they will rise to the occasion. If you model baby talk and grammatically incorrect language, that is what you will get back. If you are short with your commands or answers, don’t be surprised if they are too.
Take the time to model proper communication with your little one. Don’t tell them what to do. Ask them politely to do something, instead or telling them or barking instructions. After all, you wouldn’t want to be spoken to like that either.
Show them it is just as important to listen as it is to hear. It is not OK to interrupt other people's conversation, we must all take turns. If this is done on a consistent and regular basis, your child won’t even realize lesson were taught, and you will reap the rewards of a well-mannered and articulate child!
To see next week's Parenting Tip on Validating your Child's Feelings - click here