Communicating with Your Children

This post made possible through the support of Cochlear. All opinions are my own.

Every year I add up the ages of my four kids to calculate my Cumulative Parent Time (CPT). This year I hit the 82-year mark. That constitutes four births, four first words, four potty trainings, four first days of school, four driver’s permits, and about four thousand gray hairs from worry.

I have a formulated a few theories about parenting over the last twenty-five years, and one of my favorites is about communication. Understanding and being understood is one of the most basic levels of our human nature. Maintaining good communication with my kids is something I actively strive for.

Here are some communication tips from me to you.

Accept It’s Not Always Fun.

I joke that I spent a year teaching them to talk and then seventeen years wishing they’d be quiet, but that’s not totally true.

I feel like I have a good connection with each of my kids. I chalk this up to letting them talk, and actively listening to them. Yes, I heard a lot of knock-knock jokes, and I know a lot more about which Batman’s Robin is the best Robin. (Tim Drake, duh.)

Still, while I would have much rather been reading a book or basically anything else, I still listened, asked questions (“Why isn’t Charizard pronounced ‘char-IZ-rd instead of ‘CHAR-zard?’”), and pretended to pay attention until I was actually paying attention.

This engaged listening showed them I cared about what they are interested in. And that shows how much I love them and want to be engaged in their lives.

Encourage Storytelling

Being Southern, my people are natural storytellers. A lot of mine involve my own public embarrassment, and/or possums, but that’s a post for another day.

One way to encourage storytelling and the natural language development that comes with it is to never ask a question that can be answered yes or no. It’s a habit you have to work on, but it pays off.

Instead of “How was your day?” and a grunted reply of “Fine; whatever,” I ask about how work went or what new music they are listening to, or exactly when will they clean the cat box out again.

You can do this from the youngest age as you get them to make basic choices throughout the day.

Example:

  • Do you want to take a nap now or after I make you watch Caillou?
  • What did you do to the dog’s fur?
  • What was the most interesting thing you learned at school today?

It’s easy with practice. What are some questions you can ask your child today to encourage a more complex answer? (See what I did there?)

Make Sure They Are Hitting Developmental Milestones for Language

I’m not a doctor, but as their mother, I’m my kids’ first line of pinpointing that they may have a developmental delay. I watched carefully for first coos, first words, and the first time they were able to go to the toilet without me. #Hallalujah

If one of my kids had experienced a delay in hitting a milestone, the first person I would talk to would be our doctor, especially if I suspected potential hearing loss. Learn about the degrees of hearing loss in the graphic below.cochlearhearingloss

If you recognize signs of hearing loss in your child, or anyone in your family, do talk with your doctor or a qualified audiologist. There are treatments and options available, including cochlear implants.

Cochlear is not for all hearing loss or everybody with hearing loss. To obtain a hearing implant, one must be a candidate and qualify for the device. A medical professional–such as a hearing implant specialist, an audiologist or doctor–will determine candidacy and answer medical-specific questions. You can find a hearing implant specialist by clicking on “Find a Hearing Specialist” at the top left of the IWantYouToHear.com page.

You can also connect with Cochlear socially on Facebook, on Twitter,  and on YouTube.

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