Most people have more training before they receive their driver’s license than before they become a parent. Educating yourself on how to communicate effectively with your child can be the key to achieving your parenting goals. If you do not have children of your own, these 10 tips can help you whenever you are around children.
Draw children out to speak about the children’s lighting things on their minds. You can ‘prime the pump’ by talking with them about their favorite foods, toys, movies, video games, etc.
Verbally reflect the emotions of a child before giving in to your need to teach them something. Parents are constantly making the error of educating their child when their child expresses pain. “I hate my nose” is often responded to with, “you have a perfectly good nose” and the child is left to feel all alone with what could become an enormous problem for them in years to come.
Teach your child to wait instead of interrupting your conversations. One technique is to teach your children to lightly touch your arm and to wait peacefully and quietly to be acknowledged by you. Children who interrupt miss a chance to learn to control their impulses and can upset the flow of an adult’s conversation.
Play little games whenever you see children. For example, you could put something such as a coin in a hand behind your back and ask the child to guess which hand it is in. This is a way to build a strong connection with a child and make a child feel honored.
Lower yourself physically to a child’s level by sitting down, bending down, or sitting on the floor. It may have been months since any adult has joined the child on their own level.
Hold and play with a child’s toys or trinkets. Play is the language of a child. If you stop for even thirty seconds to draw a picture alongside of a child who is coloring, you could become one of their heroes.
Tell short stories to children. Make the stories up or pull them from your own childhood. Stories can be used to build a connection, to teach a lesson, or just to leave a child feeling better than when the conversation began.
Follow up on the promises that you make to children with action. Children are usually more hurt than adults by broken promises. Ironically, many people treat their promises to children as less important than their promises to adults.
Sacrifice some of your time to interact with children and to focus on them 100%. Most adults do not interact with children who are present because the children are not able to meet their needs the way that an adult can. Five minutes invested in the life of a child will pay dividends that an hour invested in the life of an adult may not.
Master the art of Socratic questioning. This means that instead of expressing facts or lecturing that you ask a question to stimulate the child’s own reasoning process. Socratic questioning opens up a place in a person’s mind for the answer to be remembered. For example, you could ask, “How do you think we could take better care of the puppy?” instead of telling your child what to do.
This piece was written by Dr. Clare Albright, Psychologist and Parenting Coach, and author of “Neurofeedback: Transforming Your Life with Brain Biofeedback”, which can be downloaded for only $7.77 from