Breaking the Code: The Secret to Effectively Communicating with a 10-Year-Old

~Walkie Talkie

“Rodger that. Over and out.” I said to my daughter as I completed the task of emptying the last of the household trash cans. Only a few more seconds squeaked by until I again heard the familiar loud buzz of the walkie talkies.


The military-like device loudly and sharply rang, followed by my daughter’s somewhat muffled voice. “Mom? One ring means: I have a question. Two rings means: I’m finished.


{Short Pause}

A loud, crackling br-rri-innng quickly sounded again.

“OK Mom? Do you understand?” she asked, reminiscent of what one often imagines an army drill sergeant sounding like.


{Br-rri-innng} “Got it!” {Beep} I responded back, a smile slowly slipping across my face.

Sometimes I feel as though my oldest child and I don’t connect and communicate as well as we used to. But that morning, the morning of her 10th birthday party, she was diligently and willingly (with the assistance of walkie-talkies, her newest birthday acquisition) helping me to set-up her afternoon dance-themed party without any hesitation, questions or whining.

We were alone, an unusual occurrence. My husband had left with our two younger boys to go grocery shopping in order to allow us to prepare the house by ourselves.

No toddler crying.
No 6-year-old vying for my attention.
No thoughts of work, or to-do lists, or even laundry filled my mind.*

*OK, I’ll admit… maybe a couple thoughts of laundry muscled their way into my brain.

Age ten to my daughter indicated her entrance into the “double-digit” years.

However to me, whatever the birthday age – ten or two, this day would forever be reminiscent of the moment my husband and I physically became parents.

Images momentarily flashed through my mind as I remembered our first Christmas together as a family unit of three, along with the ensuing (occasional) nights of snuggles and the (many more) nights of sleep struggles. And then visions of my daughter’s growth through the years caused me to stop my party preparations and made me cringe, realizing how quickly time had passed by.

I hesitantly looked down at my watch – the heavy bearer of time – and appropriately noticed the hour (and subsequently the PJ’s I was still wearing).

“Time just won’t stop ticking.” I uttered to myself, as panic started setting in over how little time I had left before our party guests began arriving.


“OK. I’ve finished.” I spoke into the walkie-talkie (much louder than necessary). “I’m hopping in the shower A.S.A.P. Hurry up, you need to get dressed too! Over and out.” {Beep}

I raced up to my shower and started the water rushing, my body now tense as I began my normal fight against the clock.

I had spent all morning gallivanting around the house, walkie-talkie in hand – pretending as if I too was 10 again, without a care in the world. I hadn’t realized how much time I had allowed to slip by.

{Br-rri-innng} (I heard through the sprinkle of the shower water.)


{Beep} {Short Pause}


When you’re finished you’re supposed to ring twice! Remember? You need to listen! {Beep}


And Mom? I LOVE these walkie-talkies! It’s SO cool that I can talk to you whenEVER I want to.


And the shower water disappeared. I had broken the code. I had found (if only for a moment) a way to communicate with my daughter that she loved.

The sudden rush of the day faded away. At that moment, I couldn’t think of anything I would rather be doing than “walking” and “talking” to my 10-year-old.


Leave a Comment: What gifts have been given to your child that inadvertently turned out to be gifts to yourself?

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2 Responses to Breaking the Code: The Secret to Effectively Communicating with a 10-Year-Old

  1. Susi says:

    What a great post. It does seem to get harder as they get older to effectively communicate with our kids, doesn’t it? I see it more with my older boy than with my girls but it’s there nontheless. I do have to say since my boy got his very first cellphone this past Christmas it seems to be a more level playing field!!!
    Susi recently posted..Picture Perfect Weekly #2 {The Things Only Edition}

    • Kate F. says:

      It funny how our communication “tactics” change as they get older, huh? We’re not quite at the cell phone point yet – but I can envision as they get older how that could be very similar to our walkie talkies!

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