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Words to Use with Your Kids Every Day

How to Say It

Communicating with your child involves more than the words and phrases you use. What you are saying will be more effective if you:

  • Try to speak to your child in a pleasant tone of voice, instead of an angry one.

  • Speak in a light conversational tone instead of yelling. If you do end up yelling, apologize to your child.

  • Take the time to really communicate with your child, instead of rushing through a conversation.

  • Devote your full attention to your child when she is talking to you, and try not to let your mind wander.

  • Use facial expressions that correspond to the words you're speaking and the emotions you're feeling.

  • Let your love and respect for your child guide your words and actions.

  • Let the responsibility of being a parent be reflected in your willingness to take control when it's necessary.

  • Smile more often than you frown.

Excepted from "Words to Parent By," March 1999, in Our Children, the official magazine of the National PTA.

About the authors: Vera Lane, Ph.D. and Dorothy Molyneaux, Ph.D., are specialists in child-language development and family communication. Dr. Lane is associate dean and Dr. Molyneaux is professor emerita at the San Francisco State University College of Education.



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