Today’s children live in a world bombarded with media, and most of them spend time with electronic screens than with us. With remote work and all the fuzz that pandemic has created – parents are faced with unimaginable problems and challenges. Today as parents, you are juggling so many different things. Like finding the right balance between parenting and working, spending quality time with your children, keeping yourself and your family healthy, dealing with no or limited child care options, fighting financial challenges, struggling to teach your children good values, managing your children’s school schedules, and most importantly finding the best possible ways to effectively communicate with your children. All these challenges have sure made it difficult to balance between parenting and working. But remember, it’s not only you who is going through the crisis with all the changes bought by the pandemic – your children are facing a hard time adapting to the new normal too.
So, how can you ensure your kids feel more connected to you than to their screens?
Here are some ways to help you effectively communicate with your children and bring the balance between parenting and working.
7 Steps to effectively communicate with your children
1. Choose the right time
Initiating a conversation when your child is watching television or busy text messaging is not a good idea. Like how you have your space and want others to respect it – your children expect the same from you. Make sure your child is in the right mood to listen to you and there is nothing to distract him/her. Create a comfortable situation for both you and your child. Try going for a walk with him/her or make a conversation over a cup of tea/coffee instead of talking at home. The idea is to break free from the routine and create a different experience that both you and your child find interesting.
2. Spend time with them: Help them gain a sense of self-confidence
No matter how busy or held up you are with work, make time for your children. Engage in fun activities that suit your children’s age and interests. Eat together – having meals together offers a great opportunity to talk about the day’s events and to grow closer with your children. Do most of the things together as a family – be it, eating a meal together as mentioned above or exercising or playing your child’s favorite game or sports. Most importantly, encourage your children to share what they feel about things or talk about the general things that are happening around them. Give them enough opportunities to learn new skills and gain confidence. Be receptive and thank your kid every time they share something. Use encouraging sentences like “I am so glad you shared that information” or “I loved talking to you.” Appreciate your children’s thoughts and guide the conversation in a manner they learn something new – one that gives an opportunity to build their self-confidence.
3. Guide your children to set goals
Help your kids understand how the choices they make now can affect their lives at present and in the future. Introduce them to successful people in your community who can explain what it took to succeed. Inspire your kids to get into a habit of setting goals and sticking to them till they achieve them. This will help them learn new skills and work on perfecting the existing ones.
4. Know where your kids are and what they’re doing
Remember, knowing where your kids are and what they’re up to doesn’t make you a nagging parent; it makes you a caring parent. But how you do it is all that matters. Set clear rules for your kids about what they may do and with whom they may spend time. Make a special effort to know where your children and teens are on the weekends and after school. The goal is to be an attentive parent without being authoritarian. Negotiate with your kids on what you expect of them and what they want to do. Focus on creating a win-win situation that offers a learning experience for your children. Give them the freedom while guiding them to take the right path, to make the right choices and decisions.
5. Be clear about your own values and attitudes
An attitude is a mindset and is the outcome of how one chooses to act and behave repeatedly. Over a period of time, your child ends up with either good or bad attitudes. And you as a supportive parent must consciously train your child in developing positive attitudes that help to get the best out of their skills and knowledge. Communicating with your children about difficult issues is most successful when you, as a parent :
- Express your values in a caring way
- Be open and honest
- Be certain about your own feelings
- Model for self-control & anger management
6. Watch out for warning signs
Strengthen your bond with your child by showing up to help them when they most need you.
Always look out for your kids and see if there is anything unusual that needs your immediate attention. Learn the signs of drug and alcohol use, school failure, depression, and aggressive behavior so that you can stop them at their inception stage and take corrective measures. Here are some cues to watch for in your child’s behavior:
- Spending a lot of time alone
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of interest in things that they loved before
- Sudden changes in school performance
- Drastic mood swings
- Lack of interest in hobbies
- Separation from long-time friends
- Loss of interest in social gatherings
7. Maintain respect at all times
Displaying affection and respect will reinforce good behavior. Earn their respect, so they’re more likely to be respectful to you in the future. At no instance should you look down upon your child! Always be supportive and encouraging towards them. If they commit a mistake, rather than punishing them – make them see why it’s a mistake. And how this mistake can affect him/her and the people around. Show them why he/she shouldn’t repeat it and what he/she needs to do to correct it. In other words, focus on the learning and not on the mistake! Find solutions together through brainstorming. When you reach a solution ask your child 2 simple questions: “Are you willing….” and “Will you make a commitment to…”
What kind of a parent are you?
“It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself” – Joyce Maynard
Work towards bringing the right balance between parenting and working. Remember it’s all about you! How can you expect your child to trust, believe, respect, and love you if you don’t do it yourself? The change starts within. Be a strong and loving parent who raises an emotionally intelligent child. Hope the above tips help you to effectively communicate with your child and maintain the right balance between parenting and working. If you have anything to add on, please share it with us by dropping a comment.