Listening to Your Kids

In the day-to-day routine of making sure the kids get to school, do their homework, and eat their dinner (and on and on), simple basic family communication can go overlooked. And when you do get the chance to sit down at the dinner table with your teen (whenever everybody's schedules allow that to happen), you ask her how her day was at school. She says, "fine." And you wonder where the talkative toddler you used to know has gone. Should you just give up hope of knowing what's going on in her head? Of course not. There are simple things you can do to get that communication back. And if your child is still young, there are things you can do to insure that it never goes away. Here, the parents of iVillage share their tips for communicating with their kids.

"If you want your teen to talk to you, listen to them while they are pre-schoolers. Little children will talk and talk and talk even though you are often too busy to listen. But if they learn as child that you will drop everything and listen, they will continue to talk to you when they grow up."

"I have a 9-year-old boy, but I have found that since he was about 3, it was during our late night talks that I heard about what was really going on in his head. I have found out that many more things bother my son than I ever would have realized. He worries about pollution, animal extinction, nuclear waste, traffic accidents, drunk driving, to name a few. He certainly keeps me on my toes. When one of those nights occur (and they don't always occur when it is convenient!), I get a blanket and pillow and lie on the floor in his room, and just listen. It is truly amazing the insights this child has. Listen to what they don't say as well. That may tell you far more than what they do say. You may be surprised!"

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