What is a key element to a happy family? Communicating effectively with one another.
According to Beverly Anderson, executive director for Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek and on the West Allis/Wauwatosa border, “Communicating effectively with family members includes not just talking but also being an active listener. It means really paying attention to what other family members are thinking and feeling.”
Here are some tips to make sure your family is communicating well.
Anderson recommends that families make it priority to eat dinner together every night, because it offers a perfect opportunity to communicate with one another.
“During dinner, you can talk about each person’s day including their highs and lows, and what is happening during the remaining days of the week. It is a great time to reconnect and recharge together.”
Anderson adds that another great time to communicate with your children is at bedtime.
“If you take the time to tuck your children into bed at night, you can use this time to talk about the next day’s schedule, and make sure that you and your children are prepared for it.”
Be Direct and Clear
Anderson says it is critical for parents to make sure they are being direct and clear when they communicate verbally and nonverbally with one another and their children.
“If you want your children to complete a task a certain way, it is imperative that you give clear and concise directions, so there is no room for misinterpretation. You also need to remember that younger children may require more guidance and explanation than older children.”
“If you simply ask for something to be done but don’t explain how you want it done, you can’t be disappointed if it isn’t done the way you want.”
Anderson concludes that active listening is another skill that is critical to communicating effectively as a family. Active listening involves really paying attention to what is being said, trying to understand the other family member’s perspective, watching their nonverbal communication, and asking questions to make sure you that you are clearly understanding what is being said.
“When we stop and really pay attention to what is being said, we get a clearer understanding of the wants and needs of our family members.”
Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.
Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers free Parenting Talks and other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.
The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek and on the West Allis/Wauwatosa border. The agency’s main office is located at 1138 S. 108th Street, West Allis. For more information, please call 414-643-5070.