The ability to communicate effectively is a crucial life skill that all individuals need to convey their thoughts and express themselves clearly. Children who have strong communication skills tend to be more comfortable in social situations. They find it easier to strike up conversations and build friendships and healthy relationships with others.
We need to remember that kids aren’t born knowing how to communicate. Children learn as they grow, and they develop their communication skills through their everyday interactions with their parents, siblings, peers, and teachers. As parents, we play an important role in teaching our children effective communication skills. Read on for some helpful ways you can foster your little one’s communication skills.
Have regular conversations with your child
We can all probably identify with those moments when our kids are feeling shy, and we want to help them become more comfortable opening up? Well, that’s part of our job as parents.
Our role is to encourage our children to become increasingly comfortable having conversations with others by talking to them as much as possible. Whether these conversations are shared over snacks, while you’re walking to the park, or during a car ride, it’s important that we encourage our kids as they develop the skills needed to express their thoughts or say what’s on their minds.
Encourage your child to share stories about his or her day
Another helpful way to encourage your child to practice talking is to ask about his or her day. Be as detailed and specific with your questions as possible. You can ask questions like, “What was the best thing that happened at school today?”, “Did you have a good time at school today?”, or, “How did you enjoy playtime or recess with your friends?”
This approach can help kids who find communication challenging, as it helps them practice recall and sequencing. This is also an excellent way to strengthen your bond with your little one.
Listen to what your child has to say
While it’s important for us to give our kids the tools they need to express themselves clearly and effectively, it’s equally important for them to learn how to listen. Listening attentively is a key ingredient in communication. Without strong listening skills, a speaker won’t be able to effectively get his or her message across. So how do you start teaching your child about active listening? By modeling the behavior yourself.
Show your child know that you are listening and paying attention to what he or she is saying. Give little ones your undivided attention during your conversations, and repeat part of what they’ve said back to them to show that they’ve been heard. You may also include a follow-up question. For example, you can say something like, “Wow, it looks like you’re having a lot of fun during your art class. What other projects are you interested in doing?”
Incorporate fun into your conversations
Some days, coming up with exciting and engaging topics can be challenging. You can start by thinking of something fun to talk about. Maybe you might share the funniest experience you had during the day or a funny thing you saw on your way home. You can also ask your child to tell you about an exciting activity he or she did at school.
Make reading together a daily habit
Reading skills are a crucial element of language development and effective communication skills. Reading teaches children new words, enriches their vocabulary, and enhances their developing cognitive abilities. When children read, it can also teach children the fundamentals of empathy by showing people different situations. When children read and hear stories that cover various topics and social scenarios, it encourages children to be more understanding of others who might be different from themselves.
Make it a habit to read with your child on a daily basis. Whether you and your child enjoy reading books, magazines, or any other fun reading materials, it’s important to incorporate reading into your routine together. Have discussions with your child about the characters, plots, events, and even new words he or she has learned.
Young kids don’t instinctively know how to communicate effectively. This is where your role as a parent comes in. Use these tips to help you teach your child effective communication skills as they become better equipped for success at school and beyond.
For more tips and resources on parenting, feel free to visit Imagine Nation Learning Center.