Parents be sure to "connect" with your child/children instead of just talking to them. One of the best and easiest places to do this is during mealtime. It is an excellent way to get families together to share their experiences for the day, discuss values, and learn more about each other. Eating together on a regular basis can prove to be one of the most important things a family can do to build healthy communication with each other. Here are some tips on how to accomplish that goal:
1. Be available as often as possible- Everyone has a busy schedule (especially during the school year), but make sure to designate time (even if it is only ten minutes) to talk, without distraction from televisions, phones, etc. Give your full attention to your child.
2. Be a good, active listener- If you are unclear about what your child is saying, ask for clarification. You don't have to agree with what is being said. Provide your ideas and/or opinions then decide the best course of action to come to a resolution.
3. Show empathy- Be mindful of your child's feelings. This lets he/she know that you care and understand them at a deeper level and are not minimizing their feelings.
4. Be a positive role model- This is one of the most influential things you can do. As they say, "Actions speak louder than words." Children learn by what they see and as a parent they see you more often than most other adults in their lives.
Some additional tips: