Speaking the language of your children

When we talk about connecting and communicating with children, how to encourage children to listen to you more, how to get your children to cooperate, the first step is – the level of connections you have with your children – your relationships and bonding with them. Language and modern technology are the ket these days.

I have just spent some time with my Aunty in Japan and her family. My cousins work long hours, so most mornings, after a very quick breakfast, they are off to work and we won't see them until very late at night.

They are physically and mentally tired, and some of them will have after work activities, therefore connecting with them at home become harder.

Each country has their culture, beliefs, societal expectations and behaviour, thus how my cousins are brought up may be different from how I brought up my children or how I was personally brought up. But one important thing remains the same, irrespective of where you live or who you are: your relationship with your children depends on how connected and bonded you are with them!

Using the example of my Japanese cousins, yes, they are busy and hardly have time with their parents but that does not mean there should not be any communication with them.  Communication and connections are established from the moment your children are born, from the first moment your eyes connect, the moment you held them in your arms, the moment you shared the first words, first touch, first smile, first disagreement …. Those were first steps to connections and bonding with your children.

As children grew, the language we used also changed according to their level of needs and understanding. They may choose to spend more time socialising with their peers, or travel to explore the world, some children may choose their own company than others… Irrespective of how much time you have with your children, your connections and bonding with them will still be your priority.

Relationships are about shared experiences

It is not about the amount of time you spend communicating with them, it is about the quality of the time you share together. So for example while my husband and I were travelling in Japan, Hong Kong and Malaysia, despite the time differences between our children and our relatives, we can still manage to connect and communicate.

Sometimes, it was not communicating directly with them over Skype (which we did on many occasions) but we used the many social media applications, such as Whatapps, FaceTime, Facebook messenger etc. I am sure there are many more applications out there, but I am sticking to those that I know well.

Speaking the Language of your Children

On some days when time permitted, we talked over Skype or FaceTime, and if we were on the road or did not have access to Wi-Fi, we would leave messages via Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger for them.

What message did we leave? 

We may take photos of what we did, ate, places we visited or people we met etc.. My children would reciprocate when time permitted, such as what they cooked for dinner, asking for instructions on how to cook a certain dish, took photos of when my plants or flowered, or who they just had dinner with, their work, their encounters about their day, their sports competition etc….

It does not matter what the topic of conversation would be, as long as something in common is being shared. Once you have established this connection, conversations will just flow.

Connections and bonding are about shared experiences. Start connecting by speaking the language of your children!


Families and Food are important. I am writing this blog post while cruising along the highway towards Kyoto, Japan – this is a place where I am really looking forward to visiting, because of the history behind this city. I will share the cultural experiences in Japan in a later post. For this blog post, I would like to talk about food – my favourite topic. However, it is not just about food, but taking the time to prepare the food and sharing it with your family.

Wewere in Malaysia before we flew to Japan, and we spent a few hours with one of my relatives with young children before we left for the airport. It was a great opportunity to get to know them better.

I followed the mum to collect her daughter from school.  In the short time together, we shared several parenting topics and her family's daily activities etc. We discussed about where and how often they purchased their daily grocery, as I am always interested about the local markets.  We talked about how often they shop, the price comparison between shopping markets and the local markets how often, how does she find the freshness about the food etc. 

Somehow through the conversation I gathered that the family eats out more often than cookin at home. I believe that most families in Malaysia eat out very often as restaurant food is easily available.  It is not overly expensive to eat out, and for those families with both parents working, would find it more convenient to eat out.

I have to admit, I am not totally taken with the idea of eating out more often than cookin at home; howeverr, I am not against eating out.  I personally enjoy exploring the local eateries with my family once or twice a week.

I have always encouraged parents to use the opportunity to cook with their children, and to use that time to connect and have fun with them. Consider cooking and having a meal together as part of your daily routine to connect with your family. Home cooked meals mean saving on the family budget and enhance the nourishment of your family.

Here are three examples of the benefits of cooking at home with your family.

Family connections

Families are busy; we often struggle to find enough time for our families, especially when children are older and have their school activities and their social activities etc. 

However, your family have to eat right? Wouldn't it be a wonderful opportunity for you to involve them with the food preparation, deciding on what to eat, researching recipes together while sharing your experiences about your day.  Encourage your children to do so. When you are relaxed and sharing something in common, the conversations will flow.

Family Budget

Have you ever compared your home food bills to restaurant or food court bills? The ready cooked meal will generallycost higher, as you are paying for labour costs, the rentals, as well as the raw ingredients.

On the other hand, depending on the quality of the food you purchase, on average, your weekly grocery food bill will be much lower when compared to eating out. 

When shopping, it is a fun and creative to get your children involved so they can spot sale items and use those items to create a dish.

On top of that, get somethings that are in season and so prices are low, as that help with your family budget as well.


When we cook our own meals, we put more care and love in the preparation.  We make a conscious decision to add more fresh and balanced ingredients to the dishes. We also tend to use better quality oils, seasoning and fresher produce as well. Thus your cooking means better nutrition for your family.

As they always say, food is prepared through love, thus there is nothing better than sharing something that is prepared through love with your family, right?

Happy cooking!


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