Back-to-School Communications

Published Tuesday, September 07, 2010 2:22 PM

Summer is a time of togetherness for many families. With the back-to-school season now in full swing keeping up communications becomes more of a juggle.

But as multi-tasking moms and dads know, juggling is just one of the many skills in the parenting arsenal. So take time to make time: schedule one-on-one time with each child in the family and set up regular family meetings. 

Family meetings don't need to be formal; they can take place once a week at a family dinner or first thing Saturday mornings. Use this time to reconnect about important happenings during the week and for announcements that affect the whole family such as weekend plans or changes in chore schedules.

Once you've carved out time, use these tools to help make communication more effective:

Young children: Communicating positively with young children helps them develop confidence, self-worth, and good relationships. Try to get down on their level if you can. When giving commands or disciplining, avoid angry voices; try to use a neutral voice. For more tips on communicating with children, visit the Mr. Rogers' Family Communications resource guide for a wealth of tips.  

Teens: Don't believe the hype; teens want to talk to their parents about sex, drugs and rock and roll as well as a host of other topics. Studies show that teens want to discuss these sensitive topics but don't know how so it's your job as a parent to get the communication going. For tips, check out Communicating with Teens by

Kitchen Command Center: Keep family members in the communication loop by setting up an effective kitchen command center. Color code calendars to keep track of various sports and social commitments for each family member and use a white board or chalkboard for messages. For more tips on setting up a command center, visit our past post "Is Your Kitchen Your Home Office?

Finally, keep in mind that September is hurricane season in many parts of the country. The time to prepare for an emergency is before it happens; use this government guide to put in place a Family Communications plan for emergencies and review it with all family members: Make a Family Communications Plan. 

Do you have any tips for back-to-school communications? Share your thoughts here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook and Twitter pages.

by Candie Harris


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