One of the most important skills you can teach your child is communication. The lessons begin when your infant is looking at you and listening to your voice. When the child is older, and you're helping sort out problems, be sure to listen attentively, with plenty of eye contact and without a disapproving tone of voice. When you talk to your child, it's O-K to express your own feelings and to encourage your child to do so, as well. Look for signs of how the child's feeling and for changes in behavior that may also signal various emotions. To avoid conflicts, a conversation between you and your older child shouldn't start with a prying or probing question. Refrain from comments or jokes that may make your child feel worthless, unwanted, or over-criticized. That may cause him to mistrust you and your advice and turn to others for help, guidance, and closeness. Good communication in a family isn't always easy, especially if parents are under stress or don't devote adequate time to being with kids. In addition to setting aside a specific block of time for your child each day, you can create additional opportunities for communication by planning family activities, such as preparing meals together.