How To Talk To Your Kid Like An Adult, As It's More Important Than You Think

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Having a conversation with a child can be a test of your patience. When my boys ramble on and on about subjects I have zero interest in hearing about, I try to remind myself that being a good listener is part of being a good communicator, which is a skill I'd like my children to have. Learning how to talk to your kid like an adult may sound counter-intuitive, but it could be the one thing you do that helps them learn how to better express themselves. Because it's your example that they are likely to copy when they are speaking to others.

Speaking to your child like an adult doesn't mean discussing topics that are too mature for them, like you would with other adults. It means modeling effective communication habits that show them how to speak appropriately with you, their friends, and other adults. A good example of this is using manners, or what pediatrician Dr. William Sears described on his website as socially correct speaking. Using "please" and "thank you" when talking to your children shows them that you value politeness and except the same from them. The way you speak to them clues them into how you would like them to speak to you.

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You can take the idea of leading by example when starting conversations with your kid; open things up the same way you would with another grown up. "Initiate conversations by sharing what you have been thinking about rather than beginning a conversation with a question," as the website for the American Psychological Association suggested. When it is time to ask questions, try to make them as specific and meaningful as possible, according to PBS Parents. When you ask good questions, you tend to get better answers.

In order to really talk to your kid like an adult, you'll need to keep your emotions in check. According to Psychology Today, "It is important to take some time to connect with your own feelings and calm down using deep breathing or self-talk before letting these emotions leak and derail your communication with your kid." It's easier to have less of a filter when you're talking with your child, but remembering how you might speak to your boss, friend, or neighbor is a quick reference point which can redirect you back to your communication goals.

To create more meaningful conversations and develop good life skills, talk to your child as if they were an adult. Use real words, respect, and etiquette when shooting the breeze with your mini-me and watch as they do the same when explaining Pokémon Go to Grandma.