When your kids are super young, you are their prime source of socialization, as well as their interactive encyclopedia for every question that they have about the world. If your toddler’s endless stream of questions ever even remotely bugged you, then you’ll probably regret that annoyance when they get older and you realize that you have become the last person that they want to talk to. Don’t worry, this is a natural thing. As kids get older, talking less to their parents is part of how they express independence. However, there are still some tips you can use to get your child to talk more to you…

Actually listen

The most important thing that encourages your kids to keep talking to you honestly and continuously is to actually listen to what they have to say when you are talking. Too many parents try to gloss over the details of what their children are actually saying, or simply assume that they can apply their child’s experiences to what they went through as a child. While it might be a very similar situation, failing to actually listen and care about what your child is saying pushes them away, and makes them less likely to talk to you in the future.

Don’t have all the answers

Oftentimes, when your teenager wants to talk to you about what they are going through, they just want to talk through it. This doesn’t mean they are looking for advice. However, with your experience, it is definitely warranted to offer an opinion and try to teach a lesson, but don’t try to pretend that you have all the answers to what they are going through. Not only will this make them less inclined to talk to you, but it’s important for your teens and children to learn to be able to work through many of these issues on their own.

Make sure to spend quality time with them

An important part of making sure that your kid can talk to you is building and maintaining a social connection between the two of you. This means taking the time to actually spend real, quality time with them. Plan out time for the two of you to spend time doing something that you both love every week, and make sure that you don’t let that time together slide. If you keep up that quality time in your routine, then they will be far more inclined to share more of their lives with you.