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How to Talk to Your Kids So They Will Actually Listen

Communicating with children can sometimes feel like an uphill battle, as they may seem to tune out or disregard what you say. However, effective communication is essential for building a strong parent-child relationship and fostering mutual understanding.

Let’s explore valuable strategies to talk to kids effectively so they will listen, improving communication and connection within your family.

Be Mindful of Your Tone and Body Language

Children are highly perceptive and sensitive to nonverbal cues. When talking to your kids, maintain a calm and supportive tone of voice, and use open body language to convey warmth and approachability.

Avoid harsh or dismissive tones. It can make children feel defensive and less receptive to your words.

Get on Their Level

Instead of towering over your kids, physically lower yourself to their eye level when talking.

This simple act creates a sense of equality and makes it easier for children to engage with you more comfortably.

Active Listening

Communication is a two-way street. Practice active listening by fully focusing on what your child is saying.

Show interest in your child’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences. When children feel heard and understood, they are more likely to reciprocate and listen to you in return.

Use Clear and Simple Language

Tailor your language to your child’s age and comprehension level. Speak clearly and concisely, avoiding jargon or complex terms.

Using simple language ensures that your child understands your message and reduces the likelihood of miscommunication (UNICEF Parenting).

Give Reasons and Offer Choices

Instead of dictating commands, explain the reasons behind your requests. Children are more likely to comply when they understand the purpose.

Additionally, offering choices within reasonable boundaries empowers them and encourages cooperation.

Avoid Excessive Lecturing

Lengthy lectures are likely to overwhelm and lose a child’s attention. Keep your points concise and to the point.

If necessary, break up discussions into smaller conversations to maintain engagement.

Set a Positive Example

Children often emulate their parents’ behavior. Model effective communication by being respectful, patient, and empathetic in your interactions with them and others.

When children witness positive communication, they are more likely to adopt it in their own lives.

Acknowledge and Validate Feelings

Let your child know that their emotions are valid and understandable. Avoid dismissing or trivializing their feelings, as it can create a barrier to open communication.

Acknowledging their emotions creates an environment of trust and emotional safety.

Praise and Encouragement

Recognize and praise your child’s efforts and achievements. Positive reinforcement boosts their self-esteem and encourages them to continue their positive behavior.

Be Patient and Flexible

Not all conversations will go as planned, and that’s okay. Be patient and flexible, especially during emotionally charged discussions. Allow time for your child to process information and offer support when needed.

The Last Word

Effective communication with your kids is crucial for a strong parent-child relationship and a harmonious family dynamic.

Remember to acknowledge their feelings, offer praise and encouragement, and be patient and flexible during conversations.

With these strategies, you can talk to kids effectively and have an open line of communication that strengthens your bond with your children.


UNICEF Parenting. How to communicate effectively with your young child. Retrieved from UNICEF Parenting: https://www.unicef.org/parenting/child-care/9-tips-for-better-communication

How to Talk to Your Kids So They Will Actually Listen.