How communication with children improves your family’s relationship
In a previous blog post we spoke about how children learn about the world and their place in it through conversations, play activities and routines with parents and families and how, by working together, parents and practitioners can enhance children’s learning and development.
Here we will write on how communication with children improves your family’s relationship and helps instill good habits.
Imagine being essentially helpless when it comes to most of the important things that you need and want in life, and having to rely on someone else 24 hours a day just to get to where you need to go, do the things you need to do, and even do basic things like eat your meals. Worse still, what if you had very little control over any of these processes and, in fact, were kept in the dark about a lot of things by your own caretakers? Well, this is the reality of being a child, and most of us forget what this was like after years of living with adult responsibilities and adult-level control over our own lives. Being a child can be extremely confusing, especially since many of the people that surround a child in his life won’t make much of an effort when it comes to honest communication; in fact, a lot of people find it much more expedient to withhold information from a child or even to lie to him when difficulties arise.
One of the best things you can do for your children is to be open and transparent, and to treat them with honesty and respect, just as you would an adult. Children may not yet understand the world the way older people do, but just the act of openness will build trust in a family, and will help a child feel that he can be more vulnerable and honest himself. A child who feels a sense of deep trust with his family and learns good habits of open communication early on will be much less likely to attempt to hide important things from his parents as he grows up.
Another reason that open and obvious communication with children is important, is the basic fact that children learn much more from interactions with people—including and especially with their parents—than they do from reading their school textbooks. A parent who takes an active role in the child’s schooling and attempts to teach through example will certainly have positive effects on the child’s progress with their education. Keeping an eye on your child’s work and talking to him about it regularly is also critical in identifying educational difficulties before they snowball into much larger issues. Have serious, non-judgmental conversations with your child to understand situations from his perspective better, and not only will this make your child feel less insignificant, but he will also feel more empowered to take an active role in his own development. Make him feel welcome to tell you any concerns he has about school, and you will be rewarded with honesty from him.
Most of all, the best way to instill good habits early on is to be in constant communication about every aspect of family life. Don’t rely on unspoken assumptions; children are born knowing nothing. Make clear what your expectations and boundaries are for your children, and they will feel less helpless and overwhelmed. When a child feels confident that he understands the world around him, he is much more productive both at home and at school, and he also has fewer behavioral issues.