Tip Sheets for Parents: Tips on Talking

Tips on Talking

Talk with your children. No matter how old they are, talking with them is one of the most important things you can do to help them grow up confident and secure. When they start school with strong communication skills, they will be better prepared to learn and become successful students.

Ask questions that require more than a one word answer, such as "yes" or "no." Ask them to explain something or talk about a story you read together. Answer your children's questions thoughtfully and encourage them to answer their own questions. If you don't know an answer to a question, tell them so and suggest ways to find the answer together.

Value your children’s answers. Don't use your talks as a chance to criticize or blame. If your children are unafraid to talk with you, you can more easily help them improve or change behavior. Listen closely. If your children believe their feelings and ideas are valued, they will be more likely to talk openly and you can learn a great deal about how they think and what they feel. You can help set the stage for your children to continue to share their thoughts and feelings as teenagers.

Read stories to your children. Let them see you read. Take them to the library for storytelling and to choose books to take home and share with you. Reading together helps children learn about language and share something wonderful with you in a close, warm atmosphere. And, it opens their world to authors of all kinds of books and stories from all over the world.

Tell stories to your children. Children love to hear stories. Tell your children stories about when they were younger. They love hearing these and they make children feel valued. Tell them stories you loved hearing when you were a child. Tell stories about yourself when you were a child and about other family members. These stories give children an important understanding of family history. They also show how family members work, play, make mistakes, and celebrate successes together.

Courtesy of Building Blocks for a Healthy Future. www.bblocks.samhsa.gov