How to Quickly Implement Meaningful Communication in Your Family
(3 minute read)
Guess what? The storms will come. Maybe they have come. Maybe yours are crashing against you right now. They show up in hidden ways like the busyness in schedules that slowly fades to chaos and lost time with one another. They show up in environmental stress from careers, or academic struggles, or conflict in relationships. The storms come from the disorganization in our homes that lead to battles over “lost” things or unsigned papers or arriving late to our obligations.
The storms exist in obvious ways and they exist in very subtle ways that you can’t even see beginning. But ever so slowly, those winds begin to emerge, the downpour happens, and our foundation is put to the test.
What practices do you have in place in your family - RIGHT NOW - that ensure you know how to keep communication strong, respectful, and open? Will you be able to withstand the storms? Or will your innate communication skills barely sustain you?
In the previous blog post, “The Number One Thing that Needs to Be In Your Family’s Schedule”, you heard the story about the mom’s poor communication to her teenage child in the grocery store. Sure, we all have moments we regret when words spew from our mouths that we immediately wish we could take back. However, this situation was very startling. I shared the example of this woman because I think it’s an important illustration of stepping back and checking our habits.
Am I quick to say things without thinking of the impact on another person?
Do I model good communication skills in public places? (Be aware of the way my actions are seen and how I am influencing others.)
How is my behavior influencing the people I have direct contact with daily?
Do these people (specifically my children) model the ways in which I speak?
What communication habits do we have in place at home that encourage meaningful conversation?
When the day ends, do I feel like our family made real connections or do I have regrets over the ways we did not connect?
Our families are our greatest responsibility and our communication is its strongest source of strength. When our communication breaks down, our families break down. And when our families break down, it has a ripple affect on society which is evident everywhere we look.
We all know we don’t get better at something without practice and the one practice we CANNOT eliminate from our family’s busy schedule is that of building strong communication skills.
Here are a few tips you can quickly implement in your home that can immediately bring meaningful communication:
Make it a priority to eat at least one family meal together a week. The more the better. If you can’t get everyone together at dinner time, make it lunch or dessert.
When you do eat together, gather at your table, not a counter or the couch.
Turn off all screens and don’t allow any at the table when you have a meal together.
Look up when someone wants to have a conversation. Put down the screen, look up while folding the laundry, stop your “activity” to let them know they are important.
Make eye contact. Practice it, encourage it, teach it.
Lead with a compliment. Notice something your spouse or child have been working hard at or trying to change. Recognize it with your words and your eye contact.
Ask them questions that make them give more than a one-word answer: tell me about, how did that make you feel, tell me a funny story from today.
Turn on a song, choose a line, and just talk. There are so many incredible music lyrics that teach amazing life lessons. Use them. Here’s a list to choose from at https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/teachablelyrics/
If we think the world is going to equip them with strong communication skills, we’re all wrong. Engagement and communication from you, their family, is what it’s going to take. Don’t regret cutting this practice out of your schedule. Make it a priority. Daily.
And at the end of a busy day when you just can’t think any more about making meaningful communication, we’ll hand you the tools and YOU will make it happen.
Togather mealtime games help you Togather together to grow through sticker prompts that connect.