How to build a good communication foundation with children?

Hello everyone, first time mother here. Coming from a typical Asian family where feelings and emotions are rarely (if ever) talked about, I've come to realise how important it is to establish good communication practices from young to establish trust with my children. My child is turning 4 this year. Wondering if any parent of older children in their primary school / teenage years and has "been there, done that" and has tips to share about communicating with their children from a young age to build trust? Thank you in advance! #communicationtips #trust

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Super Mum

I have a 14 and 4 year old kids so i pretty much understand what u mean. As kids grow they will develop their own character and likes. Good communication involves listening and talking in ways that make children feel important and valued. Communicating well with children helps them develop skills for communicating with others. When you work on developing good communication with your child, it helps your child to develop skills for communicating with you and other people. It also builds your relationship, because it sends the message that you value your child’s thoughts and feelings. Family meals can be a great time to do this. Turn off phones, computers and televisions when you and your child are communicating. This shows that you’re completely focused on the interaction or conversation. Talk about everyday things as you go through your day. If you and your child are used to communicating a lot, it can make it easier to talk when big or tricky issues come up. Be open to talking about all kinds of feelings, including anger, joy, frustration, fear and anxiety. This helps your child develop a ‘feelings vocabulary’. But it’s best to wait until you’ve calmed down from strong emotions like anger before you talk about them. Tune in to what your child’s body language is telling you, and try to respond to non-verbal messages too. For example, ‘You’re very quiet this afternoon. Did something happen at school?’ Most likely they will say no. Don't keep probing. Let them know u are there whenever they need you. Pay attention to their likes and dislikes. Use your body language to show you’re listening. For example, face your child and make eye contact. If your child likes to talk while doing activities, you can show you’re listening by turning to look at your child and getting close to them. Watch your child’s facial expressions and body language. Listening isn’t just about hearing words, but also about trying to understand what’s behind those words. Your child learns how to communicate by watching you carefully. When you talk with your child (and others) in a respectful way, this gives a powerful message about positive communication. Let your child finish talking and then respond. This sets a good example of listening for your child. Use language and ideas that your child will understand. It can be hard for your child to keep paying attention if they don’t understand what you’re talking about. The journey isnt easy but it will be amazing to see the bond you will have with your child. I also often get my elder boy to help me with the kitchen and we will talk about random things. Take interest on what he likes, it may not be what we are into like games or soccer, but getting them to talk about what they like and show interest in him liking it, means the world to them.

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