Three simple steps to opening up communications with your children

Make your kitchen the “go to” place for your family

Have you heard of the saying that the kitchen is the heart of the family. This is a place where your children will go to in search of comfort and be a safe place to hang out. This is the place for families to get together, while discussing, relaxing or enjoying a home cooked meal or snack with you.

Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling down and in need of some TLC, your family or your friends will be inviting you to their kitchen and offering you a cup of tea or some comfort food?

I can remember very clearly when I came back from school, my grandmother would be waiting for me. Lunch was all set up in the kitchen with my favourites that I requested the day before, and she just sat with me while I satisfied my empty stomach with the pleasure of this wonderful food.

While eating, I would be sharing with my grandma about my “stories” at school, sharing my ups and downs, talking about my friends, my favourite teacher, the teachers that I am not so keen about, the subjects that I like and dislike, and my upcoming projects at school etc.

This is the time when I would feel totally relaxed, letting my guard down, enjoying the food and the company, forgetting about everything and just sharing my experiences with her. After that, I would then ask about my grandmother’s day, which bus she caught to the market, who she met, what did she see, and what she had for breakfast etc.

So when you are ask: how do you get your children to talk to you more, to open up communications with you and be more at ease and enjoy each other’s company – connections through food in the comfort of your kitchen!

Cook something they like

It does not matter whether you cook or you make things for your child, but for this example, I am using food. When you cook and share your child’s favourite dish, he or she will feel valued and loved, as they will feel that you value the things that they like and love.

This is how you build the relationships through trust. They feel safe as they feel valued and loved from you, and they know they can rely on you for safety and comfort.

Good communication is about sharing without judgement

Just let the conversation flow, be emotionally present and listen. Enjoy and soak in what your child has to share. It does not matter what they have to say, it is about them opening up, trusting you with their inner joys, fears, aspirations, their hopes, their dreams… and they share them with you.

Good communication is about trust as well; they would love to hear what you have to share with them. It does not matter what, just share. If you at home the whole day, what did you do, how did you come up with the dish, the process etc. It does not matter what, just share, and don’t forget to laugh and enjoy each other’s company.

Be emotionally available

You child would love to share and communicate with you, because it is natural that children want to please you and be in your company.

When you are present and listen to them whole heartedly, you child will sense your emotional ability to engage with them, and that you are interested to know about their day and hear what they have to share. Your child will feel safe and relaxed when sharing and communicating with you.

So if you are wondering how to get your children to communicate with you more, and with ease and joy, it has to start to you.

Are you being:

  • Emotionally available? Do you enjoy your child’s company or are you being distracted when your child tries to connect and communicate?
  • Do you listen with or without judgement?
  • Do you know what your child’s favourite dish or things are, or something special that they really like?

It is not whether you love your child, it is whether you value the presence of your child to make the commitment to connect with them and build the bonding and relationships with them.

Sometimes, just 15 minutes of your time is sufficient to create the space to connect. It is about how attuned you are with their needs, how emotionally present you are and the willingness to listen and share. Most of all, commit to having FUN with your children and family.

Have a FUN day with your family and make your kitchen the “go to” fun place for your family.