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Communicating With Families

There are a number of techniques that can enhance your interaction with parents and ultimately improve your ability to effectively communicate about and engage families in healthy active living. A few of these techniques are highlighted below:

  • Strength Based Approach

    Building on the asset model, the strength based approach at the core gives parents and children the ability to continue their development by encouraging a family’s growth and competency building across time. This approach acknowledges that parents are experts on their family and want to do right by their child. The clinician takes an active role in building parents’ knowledge and encouraging mastery while providing good ideas on how to integrate new opportunities for competency into a family’s daily life. In addition, the strength based approach encourages and is complementary to shared-decision making where clinicians and families can problem solve with the clinician to become more efficacious in their health decision-making.

  • Motivational Interviewing

    Motivational interviewing (MI) is a patient-centered method for enhancing intrinsic motivation to change health behavior by exploring and resolving ambivalence. Numerous studies have illustrated the efficacy of MI as a promising strategy to encourage positive health behavior change around substance abuse, oral health and diet and exercise.

  • Plain Language

    Parents with limited health literacy may have trouble understanding information about their children’s health. Plain language is a strategy that works for both written and verbal communication. When you use plain language, you make information easier to understand and act on.