As family members are busy with school, work and other activities, it becomes increasingly difficult to communicate with each other. Good communication doesn’t come naturally to every family. In fact, you may have to work at it to achieve it. Fortunately, doing so will increase the bonds between your family members.
Though you may not be able to eat dinner together every night due to conflicting schedules, it’s important to plan a few meals per week where everyone gets together. This allows you to chat about your daily lives and stay up-to-date about the current happenings with each family member. As your kids get older, pick a day and require everyone to be home on that day–no exceptions.
When it seems like no one is home, a message board can be one way to communicate with each other. This should include a calendar, where each family member places his activities, so that everyone can easily see where he is. You can also use it to write simple messages to each other. A whiteboard works well as a family message board, but you can also use a cork board and papers.
When it comes to discussing important things, schedule a family meeting. It’s a good idea to schedule one every month rather than only when bad things happen. This prevents everyone from dreading the meeting. You can use the meeting to discuss upcoming events, family financial goals, vacation ideas or chore lists.
Good family communication doesn’t always happen when everyone is in the same room. It’s also important for family members to get some one-on-one time with each other. This can allow for deeper conversations, including secret telling. Mom and dad should schedule regular date nights, with each other and with each of the kids. The kids will start to look forward to their “date” with mom or dad, as it’s a way of making them feel special.
Half of communication is really listening to what people are saying. When someone in your family wants to talk to you, you should stop what you are doing so that you really listen. In active listening, you repeat some of what was said to show that you really understand what the other person is saying.
- family image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com