Communication is an essential part of all healthy relationships: it creates connection. The more you talk to someone, the more you bond. Bonding is very crucial as early as newborn. But conversations can sometimes be a little challenging, especially with kids, due to the generation gap.
The importance of conversations
Ensuring that your relationship with your child includes open communication takes a conscious effort on your part, especially as your kids grow older.
Healthy communication will make it easier to deal with any arising conflict and strengthen the bond you have with your child. Get to know your kids on a deeper level by including topics such as what they hope for their future and what they enjoy doing. Make it a habit to include these topics often so they feel comfortable discussing them.
Starting conversations may prove challenging at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will begin to reap the benefits of open communication. Start as early as possible, when the baby is in the tummy. The way you ask children questions can, of course, encourage them to talk more or force them to clam up. Be in the moment while engaging in a conversation.
Tips to get conversations flowing
- Try asking open-ended questions and stay clear of questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no”. For example, you could say “What was the most interesting thing that you did at school today?” instead of “Did you have a good day at school?”
- Start with a factual observation. When children have something to refer to, they may find it easier to contribute to a conversation. For example, you could say “I heard you singing Negaraku at assembly this morning, but not everyone joined in. Why do you think some of the kids were not singing?”
- Share something about yourself that relates to them. For instance, you could share what you used to eat during recess when you were at school and see what they think.
- Make sure both of you are comfortable with the topic that is being discussed.
- Speak to your child at their eye level, especially with younger kids.
Suggestions for conversation starters
Your days may be hectic but try and make time for a conversation during breakfast, at the dinner table or before bedtime. Remember to be in the moment with your kids – no handphone or any gadgets. Here are some simple questions to start a conversation during these opportune times:
- “What do you like about your breakfast today?”
- “If we swapped places for a day, what would you make for breakfast?”
- “What was the best thing you did at school today?”
- “What was the most interesting thing your teacher said today?”
- “What are you thankful for today?”
- “How did someone help you today?”
While conversation starters aren’t a magical formula, they can sure help get things going. Don’t expect long, detailed answers from your child. The goal is to have many small conversations over time. In the long run, you will begin to foster an environment for open communication which actively contributes to positive family wellness. Start talking today!