Our lives are hectic—there are errands to run, dinner to make, work emails to answer, and sibling squabbles to referee. In between all those things on the to-do list, it is imperative to carve out time to really listen to and communicate with our kids. The American Psychological Association (APA) recommends several things that we, as parents, can do to make that happen. Here are some great tips on child communication from the APA.

1. Be available.
Being available to your kids includes noticing when your children are most likely to talk. For some kids riding in the car is when you will hear all about their day, and for others that might be when they are getting ready for bed. This is the perfect opportunity to really listen. The APA also mentions learning about your child’s interests and setting aside time each week for one on one activities.

2. Let your kids know you are listening.
The APA also recommends letting your kids know you are really listening. You can achieve this by putting aside whatever you are doing when a child expresses a concern. This can be challenging and can’t be done in every situation, but making a concerted effort to give our kids our full attention is key. The APA also counsels expressing interest in what your child is talking about and letting them finish their thought before you respond. This ensures you really understand the point they are trying to get across.

3. Respond in a way your child will appreciate.
When you are talking with your child, answer them in a way that will enhance the conversation. The APA suggests resisting the urge to argue, acknowledging it’s okay to disagree, and focusing on your child’s feelings during a conversation.

We’ve all been there—our attention is divided and our energy is drained, but the APA offers a helpful reminder that good communication is critical!

Do you have any child communication tips?

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