If they can trust you with the little stuff, they’ll come to you with the big stuff.

Kids don’t just come up to a parent and say things like “I know you want me to get As in school and I have a chance to cheat on the test; what should I do?” or “I’m bulimic.” Parents have to earn that kind of trust.

How? Here are 5 simple but powerful ways.

1. Put your phone away and listen to your little ones when they want to tell you all the details of their day.

When you’re reunited with your child after a day apart, put your phone away. Seriously. The research shows that the phone is just too hard to ignore, so you’re likely to pull it out while your child is talking. And pulling out your phone gives your child the message that you don’t care about what she’s saying; that she’s not as important as some random text. Again, the research is clear that when you look at your phone during a conversation, the conversation deteriorates. (For more on these and other studies, check out Reclaiming Conversation by Sherry Turkle.)

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Does your child trust you?
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