Good communication is an important part of any healthy relationship and when it comes to parenting, it’s the key to building self-esteem and mutual between you and your children.

Toddlers to teens, the principles are the same for good communication:

Give them your undivided attention — it shows them that you’re interested, involved and invested in what they’re saying. Turn off the TV, newspaper or cell phone and really pay attention to them because how would you feel if someone wasn’t really paying attention to you when you talked to them?

One on one conversations away from other people will have more of an impact and will place importance on what your saying to your child. This will also not embarrass them if it’s a sensitive or private matter. Don’t put them on the spot — give them time to talk or when they’re ready.

Make sure you are in a good frame of mind when communicating with your child so it is best to remain in control of your emotions. It’s better to stop, settle down, and talk later — you would expect them to talk to you in as a calm manor that the situation would allow.

Genuine active listening is hard work and is very difficult when your mind and body are already tired. If you are tired, you will have to make an extra effort to be an active listener. Listen carefully and politely — don’t interrupt when they are trying to tell you their story.

Keep the conversation positive by using words of encouragement and praise. Continue to talk back and forth even if you may not fully understand what they’re trying to get across. Children need to feel loved and appreciated and in communication, sometimes words aren’t enough. Show them how you feel as well as telling them — smile or laugh with them, high fives or fist bumps, pats on the back or hugs and kisses.

In the end, these are your children and you love them to the moon and back so keep that in mind when you talk to them!

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