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Lets Talk. Tips for Healthy Family Communication

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Something I hear all the time when working with parents is how busy and stressed out they are.  It seems like a trickle down effect.  Mom and Dad are stressed with work, social commitments, schedules, etc. and that in turn influences how they feel mentally and physically which shapes how they are able to interact with their children.  It’s hard to be patient and take the time to listen when we’re feeling stressed out and pulled in too many directions! It is especially difficult to keep the lines of communication open and remain on the same page.

It can be incredibly difficult to find time when the entire family is together to talk and share.  Between work schedules and activities the kids are involved with, it can be challenging to even eat one meal together.  Setting up good habits and making family time a priority helps to keep everyone feeling connected and invested.

Healthy family communication is often comprised of the following:

  1. Communicating Frequently
  2. Communicating Clearly and Directly
  3. Being an Active Listener
  4. Thinking About the Person With Whom You Are Communicating
  5. Paying Attention to Nonverbal Messages
  6. Being Positive

Check out the one page handout that includes the above information as well as examples of ways to practice these six tips.

It is important to remember that no family is perfect and there is no one right way to be a family.  These tips are a great way to reflect about what is important for YOUR family and what things you would like to incorporate more and strengthen.

Rachel Taylor, M.S., QMHP

This post also appeared on the Parenting Success Network.

Taming The Tube: Becoming Screen Smart Parents

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I receive a lot of questions from parents regarding television, video game and computer time and their children. There are now numerous studies regarding the effects of screen time on children’s physical and mental development by the American Academy of Pediatrics. They have found that screen time in a child’s early years (birth to age 5) negatively affects a child’s physical health and their chances for success in school.

Surveys have shown that on average, babies as young as six months to three years old spend nearly two hours a day with screen media (which equates to roughly 20% of their waking hours). Also, 40% of parents with young children report their family TV’s are on “most” or “all” of the time even when no one is watching (this is called background TV). What the research conducted on the effects of screen time is teaching us is that a high correlation exists between the amount of screen time and obesity and lower success in school.

“Active free play,” in contrast to screen time, lessens the risk of obesity and related health problems. Active free play also helps young children develop imagination, creativity, and problem solving ability—all of which lead to positive, health-promoting, lifelong skills. We have also learned that healthy brain development in very young children depends on emotionally positive, live interactions with adults, other children and their surroundings. Young children develop strong vocabularies and other language skills—strong indicators of academic success—from hearing many words spoken and read directly to them each day from family members and caregivers.

Attached is a flyer (front page, back page) with 10 suggestions for you as parents to incorporate into your home with further information regarding screen time and children, along with links for additional information.

Fun Fact: When the TV is on, children hear an average of 656 words less from their mother and 200 less from their father.

Rachel Taylor, M.S., QMHP

This post also appeared on the Parenting Success Network.