My mother gave me a dough mixer for my birthday. Not just any mixer but the one that she had owned her entire life, a wedding gift from her mother on her wedding day.

Let me explain why this meant so much to me. My mom was always a vibrant, active woman who spent most of her time in the kitchen cooking enough food for an army of Tribbles. When she developed serious health issues it put an end to long hours spent talking about our lives while she taught me how to bake all of the family recipes that have been passed down through generations.

That Bosch mixer and every pie crust, cake and loaf of bread that comes from it is a reminder of that connection and how easy it was to speak with her on those occasions. A lesson that I realized upon being gifted the appliance I had not taken enough time to implement with my own children.

What The Experts Say

It isn’t just sentimentality at play here. Experts have found that since the rise of technology has become such a major part of our lives, children and parents are communicating less and less.

Another study, one that is far more alarming, shows that failing to communicate regularly with children as early as in their toddler years can forever impact development and even academic performance later on.

So, how do we fix it? There are some simple ways:

  • Take a page out of ma’s book. My mother didn’t always find it easy to communicate with her sons, because she didn’t know how to relate to us in the modern world she was somewhat removed from. She used our kitchen lessons on cooking as a means of connecting and opening up with me. In turn, I opened up with her. Those moments are the most precious to me because it was a chance to communicate I may have never had.
  • Leave the judgement at the door. You want what is best for your kids. When they do something you don’t agree with it is so easy to fly off the handle because you see it as a slight to their potential. But if you are always attacking them for their feelings or experiences you can’t be surprised when they shut down. Try to be more understanding and less judgy, even if it is hard. Your children need your support, not your condemnation.
  • Enact a no-electronic time slot. Smartphones are here to stay and they are pretty much a life requirement at this point. That doesn’t mean you can’t curb their use a little. Set times during the day when there will be no phones present. Mealtimes are perfect for this as you can sit down for breakfast and dinner together (even if it is only on the weekends that you get to do both) to have a conversation without distractions.

With a little effort and thought you can open the lines of communication with your children again.

Author's Bio: 

Tyler enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn