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mistakes to avoid when talking to kids

Not giving your full attention. This is particularly important if you are discussing something important or serious and not simply catching up on your day. Turn off cell phones, TV, and other devices.

(Recent research shows that kids are aware that parents often ignore them and focus on their cell phones and other devices.) Don’t talk to siblings at the same time, eliminate background noise, and find a quiet and peaceful place to talk.

Not having their full attention when you speak. Make sure your eyes are connected your child’s and that you are both fully paying attention to each other before you have your talk.

Not asking specific questions. Asking a child, “How was school?” will likely give you a response like, “Fine.” But if you ask him, “What was the most interesting thing that happened in school today?” or “What was the silliest thing you saw today?” you’re likely to get more detailed responses.

Avoid, ignore, and then unleash. We’ve all done it–let something go that’s bothering us or push a problem aside because we have too much going on. The problem is that avoiding something can often make something worse.

And because we parents are only human, we may blow up at a child in frustration. To avoid that unpleasant scenario, be sure to address a problem early when you are calm and collected and can discuss possible solutions in a thoughtful and pleasant manner.