Connect with Your Kids – It just takes a minute!
- Listen, listen, listen!
- Answer all their questions – they’re so eager to learn and they know you have all the answers!
- Help them begin to learn the words for their feelings – You might say “When that happens to me, I feel sad”.
- Create a family ritual for talking together – at bedtime, or mealtime, or anytime that works in your family. The important thing is to do it!
- Eat together and share what happened during the day.
- Be silly – children love silly!
- Try not to start a conversation with “How was your day?” or “How was school? Ask specific questions like “What was the best part of your day?” “Who did you eat lunch with?”, or “What do you wish your teacher knew about you?”
- Take your cues from your kids – if they seem to be hanging around, they may want to talk. You could casually ask them “What’s up?” and see if that opens up a conversation. If not, try again later.
- Ask your children for their ideas and opinions, and LISTEN to what they say.
- If you have more than one child, try to ensure you’re talking with each of your children individually throughout the week.
- LISTEN more than you talk. Much more.
- Remember, we communicate to share our thoughts and ideas. Nobody has to be right and we don’t all have to agree.
- Many times children, especially as they become teens, are more comfortable talking side-by-side rather than face-to-face. Riding in the car is a great place to talk and so is bedtime with the lights out or even doing chores together.
- Watch TV shows and listen to the music your teen likes. Follow who they follow on Twitter. It’s a great way to start a conversation about “touchy” topics like drug or alcohol use or sex.
- Talk to your kids about your values and expectations around sexuality, drugs, alcohol and relationships. Stay in the conversation. Ignore the “rolled eyes”. Your teen will benefit from your experience and wisdom!