Communicate at your child’s level

Whether you want to correct or reward your child or simply say something: communicating at your child’s level is very important. This certainly applies to parenting methods where empathy is central, but also to parenting methods where social adjustment is central, communication at the child’s level is important. In this article the do’s and don’ts with a little explanation. These guidelines are based on Attachment Parenting (natural parenting) but also apply to other parenting methods.

What does communicating at your child’s level mean?

Communicating at your child’s level means speaking in a language that your child understands. By this I mean body language in addition to words. What your child understands depends on your child. Age and intelligence play an important role here, together with physical factors. Your child’s experience also determines what your child understands.

Why communicate at your child’s level?

Social adjustment

An important part of parenting is telling your children what appropriate behavior is. If your child does not understand you, the child will not know what you expect and will try to determine for himself which behavior is appropriate and which is inappropriate. This leads to frustrations for the child and the parents.

Learning to communicate

Your child will also communicate with others as he learns at home. If he doesn’t learn to communicate at home, he won’t know how to communicate well with others. He will also imitate the parents’ conversation techniques. A good example is shouting: children who are used to their parents shouting and reprimanding them will also do this to others (and even to their parents).

Self image

Clear communication helps the child develop a positive self-image. If the child is used to adults using difficult words, the child will think he is stupid and start to behave accordingly. A child who is used to others speaking in plain language will be less likely to exhibit this behavior.

Relationship between parent and child

Clear communication creates trust and strengthens the bond between parent and child.


  • Use simple words that your child is sure to understand. If you notice that your child does not understand you, adjust your word choice. You can check this by asking your child to repeat what you just said.
  • Use body language to support your words.
  • You can also literally talk at your child’s level by speaking at your child’s eye level (squatting or placing the child on a chair). Your child listens faster if you make eye contact.
  • Speak calmly. If this doesn’t work, take a time-out.
  • In the event of conflict, make clear agreements for the future and repeat past agreements.
  • Speak as much as possible in the first person and formulate your expectations in the you person.
  • Limit yourself to the present and only talk about the current situation. The past can be discussed at a later date.
  • Make sure conflicts are resolved before ending the conversation.



  • Using difficult words.
  • Shout.
  • Using contradictory body language (for example, laughing while reprimanding while angrily pointing your finger).
  • Giving too much information at once: one message per sentence is sufficient (for example: did you do that or did Tom do that or another child = three questions at once).
  • Continue to emphasize your own emotions.
  • Ending the conversation without checking whether your child has understood what you have said.
  • To moan.
  • Involve other people.

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