Everyday Ways to Practice Communication
Communication at home can be hard. This struggle has been a hot topic among parents throughout the pandemic, and with a new school year and new routines looming, tensions and old habits often sneak back in.
My organization conducted a survey of parents which showed us that communication at home is harder now than ever – and in many cases not happening at all. After months of sharing the same space with family (and for a good while, only family), teens generally turned inward and struggled to find anything to talk about. Grief and loss felt heavy, and otherwise tiny frustrations mounted.
When we see our students pulling away and decreasing their communication – which often happens during adolescence even under very normal circumstances – it takes intentional effort to practice and improve conversations at home. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. Small steps can make a big difference.
Together with your young communicators, brainstorm ways to practice communicating more – and better – at home. Here are just a few ideas that every family member can try as you get started:
- Be intentional about asking each family member how their day is going
- Take turns asking a blessing at meal times
- Greet family members cheerfully in the morning – and try to mean it
- Communicate anytime you’re leaving the house out of courtesy
- Say “hello” when you return home
- Share a high point and low point of your day with your family at a time when the whole family is gathered
- Write a letter to someone who’s even more restricted than you – like the elderly or unwell – and use it to deliver joy
Taking these small steps, one by one, can revolutionize communication in our families. By making simple conversations the norm, teens and children find it easier to open up about the things that matter most when they need to.
I hope your family will try some of these ideas. Share with me in the comments which ones you’ll use to foster peaceful and productive conversations in your home this week.
P.S. My colleague Mary Gunther wrote a super-relevant, accessible guide called Everyday Conversations that helps you integrate communication-building into your daily routine at home. You can grab it here in the ICC Store.
Dr. Teresa Moon, founding President and CEO of the Institute for Cultural Communicators, is an internationally-recognized seminar speaker, education consultant, author, and leadership coach. Each year, she travels globally equipping students, teachers, and parents to become “cultural communicators,” transforming ordinary students into extraordinary communicators and authentic leaders.
In years past, we have often played “High-Low” when gathered around the dinner table (which unfortunately isn’t very regular anymore since I have a house full of busy young adults & teens.) It always ends up being a good connection time with at least one person often saying “My low is that I can’t think of a low!” When summer comes and we’re not on a schedule, we tend to lose the routines of the school year, so I will initiate “High-Low” during our next meal time.