Take a few moments to really pay attention to the child.
- Make the time to really listen
- Patience and Persistence might still be required
Say what you want not what you don’t want.
- Take the time to think ahead about what you want to say and what you want the outcome to be.
- So often parents say what they don’t want such as “don’t make a mess” whereas saying what you do want is easier for the child to hear and remember “please keep it tidy and remember to clear up after you have finished”
Check yourself first – would you be happy to listen to you?
- Many parents live such busy and high pressured lives which can cause the feeling of stress. Children have an amazing ability to pick up vibes whether negative or positive
- Take time to make sure you are calm and relaxed before talking to your child.
Know that we all think differently, and your child may view things differently to you. It doesn’t make them wrong – just different.
- Give clear instructions to all those you communicate with
- Remember to give clear information that relates to the age of your child
- The same style, tone and wording needs to be adapted to the age of the child
- What works with a very young child will not work with an older child or a teenager.
Recognise if you are in a power struggle
- Consider leaving it until a little later when things are calmer
Keep it simple and clear
- Be clear with what you want to say and what you want them to do.
- Being clear give less room for ambiguity or misunderstandings.
- It will reduce the chances of things being forgotten and helps them remember what has been said.
Be ready to listen and hear other options
- Talking with children can be so much fun and revealing as to what they are thinking about or their opinions of the world.
- Asking for their opinions and taking time to listen can lead to some hilarious conversations
- Remember to give both sides time to speak and be heard.
Don’t launch into it – make sure that you have their attention or work out when the best time to speak might be.
- Always make sure you have the child’s full attention before giving an instruction
Give a countdown or time frame to work to
- Life is easier when you know what to expect so giving a child a frame to work with can be very helpful and kind.
- If a child is absorbed in something that they are enjoying it can be very annoying to have to stop.
- Giving a child a countdown is a kinder way to know that they will have to prepare to stop.
- As sudden stop can be very upsetting
- Remember to be clear about what want your child to do and when they need to do it.
Check they understand by asking them to repeat it back to you
- What a person says may not be what another person hears, and miscommunication and misunderstanding is so rife in life.
- Doing your best to communicate effectively can be helped by checking that the child understands what you have said.
- This allows you to check if they have been listening.
- Ask them to repeat the instruction back to you, if the repeat it correctly that clarifies that your message was received.