As my children grow up I am constantly reminded of how important communication is.
Communicating with my kids helps me teach them and learn from them. It helps me to know what is going on in their lives and to share what is going on in mine. It helps us stay connected.
But talking isn’t always easy.
Sometimes there isn’t a private moment to discuss things.
Sometimes life is so busy that time for a chat seems to get lost among all the other things we have to do.
Sometimes they don’t want to talk.
Sometimes talking is too hard.
But there are more ways to communicate than just talking…
Write A Letter.
I was surprised by how much my big kids loved the post office play we set up for their little brother, but I shouldn’t have been.
Besides enjoying a bit of dramatic play now as much as they did when they were preschoolers, playing post offices meant that everyone got their own letterbox, including Mum and Dad, and soon letters were coming in thick and fast.
When they wanted to apologise to a sibling with hurt feelings who wouldn’t let them in, they wrote a letter.
When they wanted to talk to their Dad but he was on night shift, they wrote a letter.
When I remembered something I wanted to tell them after they were asleep, I wrote a letter.
I know that a lot of parents don’t want to ‘encourage’ more technology use with their kids, but as my girls get older and they are using technology more and more for school and pleasure I find it is a great way to stay connected to them.
Sharing a quick photo or a link to something I know they’d be interested in is a great way to encourage common interests. Writing an email is a good way to stay in touch or casually remind them of things without nagging. It’s also a great way to stay involved with the way they use technology
Share a Journal.
A great way to stay connected, especially through rough patches is by sharing a journal. My girls and I have a casual shared journal – every few days my girls will write, draw or create something in the journal and then leave it on my pillow, and I will do the same and then return it to them.
It doesn’t have to be filled with deep and meaningful words, keep it light and fun. Make sure it is a joy for you both, not a chore.
Here are a few ideas that my girls and I have tried:
- write silly poems.
- share bad jokes
- make art – draw, paint, collage
- collect items to add to a page – apple stickers, pressed flowers.
- ask each other questions like ‘what would you do if you found yourself locked in the shopping centre over night?’
- set each other drawing or writing prompts like ‘draw ten things you love right now.’
Or you can buy a journal full of ready-made ideas. We are sharing a ‘Wreck This Journal’ at the moment and loving it.
These are great communication tools for older kids, and great ideas to encourage with younger kids too. Setting up a habit og good communication now is a great way to make it easier in the future.
How do you communicate with your kids?