Let’s face it, communicating with the children of this generation isn’t easy. However, there are ways to open lines of communication, especially during the school year.
Many children have a better relationship with their friends and technology than they do with their parents. But, in our home that is changing!
We decided over 10 years ago that our family would be our priority after God and our marriage. If we wanted a better relationship with our children regardless of their age; we were going to have to find ways to open the lines of communication.
We have to admit this was not easy to do. At the time, our daughter was 6 and our son was 12 so you know how that goes. Our daughter, bless her heart, is feisty and free spirited. Our son at the age of 12 was attached to his video games, and conversations with us were taking up his “game time.”
As a result, we came up with two simple ideas that began to open the door up to our conversations that we still do to this day.
Snack and talk time is similar to something you may have heard us talk about called “couch time.” Couch time is time we take around the couch to talk about what’s happening in each other’s lives, prayer requests, etc.
However, snack and talk time, is especially for when the kids come home from school. We take a few moments to prepare a snack, or cold drink in the warm months or a cup of hot chocolate in the winter months, and talk about how the school day went.
We don’t put a time frame on our snack and talk time; because we let the kids talk as long as they need to about their day.
This gives us a glimpse into their world. It shows them that we care about them, and their friends. However, most importantly it keeps the lines of communication open. As it is in these conversations, we can get to the root of troubled relationships, conflicts with teachers, or simply celebrating their achievements.
Another way we open the lines of communication is when we have family dinner. We go around the table sharing our highs and lows of the day.
With a high school and college student, we’re all running in different directions. However, we’ve made it our family tradition that at least one day a week we set aside what we call Family Dinner.
No matter your schedule, everyone knows on THIS DAY everyone must be home for dinner. And on those nights, we go around and share the highs and lows of our day. (On a side note, we change the family dinner night each school year to reflect the current schedule.)
The beautiful thing about this format is that it allows us to get more intimate in our conversation because we are all together. We are not rushed to go anywhere, or do anything because we put this time aside for us.
Time for us as a family to be there for each other, to share our heart, fears, prayer request or praise reports. We laugh; we cry, and most important, we grow closer together because communication is the doorway to deeper intimacy.
As parents, we think it is vital that we instill these communication principles to our children now. So when they become husbands and wives; fathers and mothers, they will have learned how to communicate at a deeper level instead of having surface conversations.
With all that is happening in our world today, open lines of communication is important! If we don’t show that we care about their world, they will hesitate to share with us, and seek a listening ear somewhere else.
“So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 19 Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 20 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.”
~ Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (NLT)
Do you have a unique way of opening the lines of communication with your children? Share them with us in the comments below!
~ André and Timberley Gray
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