We communicate with children long before they can talk.

We communicate with children long before they can talk. Communication begins as soon as a baby is born and begins to bond with parents. In order to build healthy self-esteem, children need their parents to value their thoughts and feelings, no matter what. Ask them about their likes and dislikes. When talking to your children, stop what you are doing and listen. Children will more likely listen to you if you listen to them.
Q: Why are family meetings important?
Family meetings give everyone regular times to discuss family issues. Meetings can be used to plan activities, celebrate, and solve problems. They help families learn to work as teams. They also give children a chance to practice communication, decision-making, and problem solving. All family members should be able to express their feelings and ideas.
Q:  How can family meetings be used to solve problems?
Meetings can be used to solve problems over chores, use of the television and sibling conflicts by following these steps:
• Identify the problem. Each family member should describe the problem and talk about how they see it.
• Think of possible solutions to the problem.
• Agree to try a solution (or combination of solutions) on a trial basis.
• Talk about how the solutions are working at the next family meeting.
Q: I feel like I’m always negative when I talk with my 8-year-old son. “Put down the IPAD.” “You’re going to miss the bus if you don’t hurry up.” “Haven’t you finished your homework yet?” “This room is a mess.” How can I make our communication more positive?
Stop and listen to yourself. How you say something is just as important as what you say. Nagging, criticizing, or threatening can be very discouraging to a child. Encourage children to let them know that they are valued. Sometimes you can communicate your meaning with a few words— “Billy, Bus!” Giving children choices also helps them feel confident. “Would you like to start your homework before or after dinner?” Use I messages like, “I feel tired tonight and could use some help with the dishes.” Or use descriptive language to make your point. “The jar broke. We need a broom.” When you need to talk with him about his behavior, keep it short and to the point. Otherwise, he may learn to tune you out. Be careful about sharing feelings with children when you are angry. Sometimes you may feel too angry to be helpful if you talk to your son right away. If this is the case, tell your son that you are angry and will talk to him once you have calmed down.
Check here next week for more tips on communication with your child.

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