4 simple ways to better communicate with your children

If you’re having trouble talking to your kids, you are not alone. You also need to read this.

Do you struggle to get more than a few grunts out of your adorable offspring? Or find it tricky to answer curly questions they throw your way? You’re not alone!

Clinical Psychologist and mind and body expert Leanne Hall is no stranger when it comes to helping parents talk to their children and says there’s a few simple strategies we can follow.

Create regular opportunities for discussion

“We think kids are going to come to us with the questions but often they don’t, they sit there and they hold it in,” Leanne says. “As parents we need to regularly check in and see what they know.

“If you’re talking to your children around the dinner table or in the car on the way to footy or soccer, you’re engaging with them, you’re interested in what they’re doing and you’re not judging them. What you are doing is paving the way for them to ask you things.”

Keep it simple

Leanne supports the ‘less is more’ mantra, particularly for younger children with shorter attention spans. She advises listening to the way kids ask their questions and ‘modelling’ that back.

“Give kids just what they’re asking and no more,” she advises. “It’s very tempting to go into detail but often that is what bamboozles them and they get confused.”

Be confident

“There are two emotions kids can smell,” Leanne warns, “one is fear and one is anxiety. So it’s really important we take a deep breath and that we’re confident when we talk to them. And try not to judge.

“Kids often don’t come to us with questions because they’re worried about how we’re going to react. If we role model behaviour that says we’re open, let’s chat about it, they’re going to feel more comfortable in opening up.”

Remember you’re the parent

Leanne says it’s important to remember who’s in charge when dealing with issues like setting boundaries around social media use, particularly for teenagers.

“As parents, it’s our responsibility to get involved and understand what they are doing on social media. It’s fine if you want to respect privacy but remember, they are the kids!”

Catch up on the full episode of The House of Wellness TV show to see more from Zoe, Ed, and the team.