Keeping your family united and an even flow of communication going can be challenging, especially if family members don’t learn how to express their feelings in a way that promotes healthy relationships.
Whether your children are all under one roof, or away at college, traveling, or have families of their own, there are some simple ways you can try to improve communications with your kids.
Ask about their day –
When your kids come home, or when you’ve finished work, make a point of asking how their days went and what they did at school.
Exchange stories and turn off your cell phone for a moment, so that you can really listen to what they did all day and their progress or challenges at school.
If your kids are far away, then use technology to your advantage by sending a quick email, text message, WhatsApp, or Skype call.
Eat dinner together –
Where possible, take the time to eat dinner together as a family.
According to Health.com, this is important to encourage bonding.
Limit your children’s after-school activities and ensure that your work or social life doesn’t take over.
Eating dinner with your kids should be a priority.
You could even think about inviting extended family to encourage bonding with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives.
Give gifts and rewards –
Nothing excites children as much as receiving a gift or reward.
It’s a great way to incentivize them to work harder on their studies and to keep them feeling loved and happy.
Gifts don’t have to be expensive, but rather small gestures that show you care.
You can use a site like Amazon to send just about anything to your kids in college when they pass their midterms or reach the playoffs.
Plan a family event –
If you’ve been wondering for ages what your distant relatives are up to, then you could think about organizing a reunion.
Get your kids to help you set up a family reunion website and plan the details together so that everyone feels involved.
Keep Memories –
Those moments you get to spend with the kids when they visit, learn something new, or have a birthday are priceless, so be sure to record these moments.
Take photos that will always keep the memories alive and that you can all look at together later on.
Create a baby book, website, or family tree, and get your kids to contribute.
Lead by example –
According to Dr. Phil, this is nothing short of abuse, and, as children learn what you teach, think about what kind of example you’re setting.
Praise where it’s due –
It’s not always about what they did wrong, what about what they did right?
Praising your children boosts their confidence and makes them happier and more likely to focus on their strengths rather than their weaknesses.
Don’t over-correct your children –
Give them time to learn and explore their world without being on top of them all the time.
Let them make their own mistakes and develop their own personality.
Finally, if your family is separated by distance, don’t let the miles defeat you.
Use technology to help bring your kids closer and make sure that siblings speak on a regular basis.
Don’t expect things to change overnight either; improving communications with your kids can be hard.
But be persistent, after all, they’ll always be the most important thing in your life.
Michael Peggs is the founder of digital marketing agency Marccx Media, where they specialize in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.