My parents were not the best teachers when it came to communication.
They certainly did not set the best example of a good listener and were not easy to go to with a problem.
In fact, I didn't go to my mom with a problem until I was an adult. If I needed advice I went to a friend's mom or an uncle. I'm scared my kids will feel that they won't be able to talk to me, too.
I found that I picked up a few of my parent's bad habits. I tell white lies to avoid hard truths, forget to ask the kids about their feelings and even ignore them at times when I'm overwhelmed.
Additionally, I'm not readily available to talk. I work full-time, outside our home and they have school. So how to bridge the gap and be present? I found a few ways this summer.
I never thought I would love Facebook, but I have fallen - hook, line, and sinker.
I use messenger with the kids a lot. I send them messages, record videos or voice messages, and we video chat. In return, they send me many (m-a-n-y) emojis and stickers, record messages, and call me through the app. It's fantastic. It's so cool, I want to set them up on Snapchat. Let's face it, the filters are cooler. (Hurry up #instastories!)
I tried emailing first as a way to help my older one practice writing and typing. I would forget to email him back. So, he uses this with a friend who lives in Columbus. They email each other weekly.
Would I prefer letters? Of course, but this is cheaper.
Diary or journal
I started a notebook for each kid so we can write back and forth to each other. The first entry states my intent and went (nothing) like this:
This notebook is between you and me. Anything you want to say or share can be put on these pages and left under my pillow. When I answer or want to share something with you, I'll leave it under your pillow.
The kids have really embraced the idea. My first grader's first post to me was a picture of someone throwing up. I have no idea why, but she thought it was funny. I can't wait to show her children.
Amazon sells journals like Just Between Us: Mom & Daughter: A No-Stress, No-Rules Journal and Between Mom and Me: Mother Son Journal
When all else fails - good old fashioned texting.