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Minnesota Childrens Museum Blog

"You never listen to me!"  Have you ever heard this complaint from one of your children?  Good communication helps parents develop a good relationship with their children.  Try these tips:

  • Teach children to listen...  gently touch a child before you talk...  say his or her name.
  • Speak in a quiet voice... whisper sometimes-so children have to listen carefully!
  • Bend or sit down so that you can look the child in the eyes and tell when she or he understands.
  • Respect children and use a courteous tone of voice.  If we talk to our children as we would our friends, our children may be more likely to seek us out as confidants.
  • Use "door openers" that invite children to say more:  "I see," "Oh," "Tell me more," "No kidding," "Really," "Mm hmmm."
  • Give your undivided attention when your children want to talk to you.  Don't read, watch TV, fall asleep or make yourself busy with other tasks.
  • Praise and encouragement build a child's confidence and reinforce communication.  Unkind words  tear children down and teach them that they just aren't good enough.
  • Children are never too old to be told they are loved.  Try writing it in a note that the child can keep as a reminder.
Esther Schak
Parent Educator, Saint Paul ECFE


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