Connecting with your child is the essence of a happy parent-child relationship—and effective communication paves the way. Due to our technology-led world, there is a feeling of a disconnect that is not always visible. It is well said that we need to ‘Disconnect to Connect’. When we connect in any relationship, from the core of the heart, positive energy flows between us and a deep bond is created. 

Connecting with your child is not about teaching them or making them the one you wished for, but loving and accepting the one in front of you. Make your child feel worthy as they are and not when they will become better or perform better or get medals.

I know it is not easy to accept as it sounds. It takes courage and strength to connect. A feeling of disconnect seeps in when parents are pre-occupied with work, demands more than giving and do not spend time with children. Moreover, with the high level of parental stress, the child becomes more disconnected. Good and effective communication is a major aspect to help build a good and deep connection with your child. Words and emotions play an important role in any relationship.

Effective communication is a two-way process where we talk to others and listen to others. It includes both verbal and non-verbal interaction. The trend is to focus on the verbal interaction between parent and child but non-verbal interaction is equally important where we communicate through the things we do to express feelings and emotions.

Here are my 20 best tips on how to build effective communication with your child.

When you talk to your child:

  1. Check the tone of your voice, speak calmly. Avoid agitation and watch what you say and how you say.
  2. Avoid difficult words and long-winded sentences for children below 6 years old.
  3. Keep it short and simple. Use ordinary language.
  4. Avoid lecturing or preaching every time otherwise, it might put your child off and discourage him from talking to you.
  5. Do not force him to talk if he is pre-occupied with some task. Wait until he is ready to share.

When you listen to your child:

  1. Show your interest by facing your child and maintain eye contact.
  2. Be physically close to your child.
  3. Avoid distractions and put aside the work you are doing.
  4. Respond verbally with ‘Yes’, ‘I see’, or ‘okay’.
  5. Encourage non-verbally also with a smile, eye contact, nods, and gestures.
  6. Ask appropriate questions to keep the conversation flowing such as ‘what’, ‘how’, ‘when’, and ‘why’.
  7. Observe the behavior of your child and enter your child’s world.
  8. Listen to the words with eyes and keep watching how he express his feelings through his drawings or through play.
  9. Listen to his feelings and let him know that you understand him and he can trust you. When you respond to your child:
  10. Encourage discussion by asking questions and allow him to respond.
  11. If your child asks you any question, be honest and tell him if you do not know the answer.
  12. You can help your child to find him the answer.
  13. Show him the way how both of you can look for the answer.
  14. Engage your child to find the answers on his own which will help him to think and solve his problems.
  15. Do not answer every question to make him over-dependent on you.
This post originally appeared on Wonder Parenting.