The key to building any relationship is communication. It forms the very foundation for building any personal or professional bond. This is a very basic and important stepping stone for kids
Kids use verbal and non verbal ways of communicating. Babies coo and babble and kids giggle and pull at your hands or clothes.
There are a few techniques that we as parents can use in our daily life to help form base and enhance good communication skills among kids:
Listen- listen to their little stories, for them all small things matter. Listening is an important tool of communication which a lot of us tend to fail on. If they make actions you watch and gage. Like pointing out to something like a particular object they want to play or know about it.
Respond- If a small child is cooing you coo back and see them smile. They are communicating. Once they start picking their first words you say things like Wow! And maybe clap when she/he said mumma or pappa”; Respond to their questions and tell them their talk matters.
Acknowledge- However busy you might be acknowledge their existence. Nod when they are talking. Make eye contact in face to face conversation. Acknowledge by praising them when they learned a new word or a difficult sentence or they express their agreement or disagreement strongly and clearly to something.
Read- Encourage reading from an early age. Read stories with big picture books where they can relate the words to the pictures. Sing and read rhymes and lullabies. Pick up on new words while reading. Set aside a reading time. Point out the words while reading along with the related pictures.
Role model- you are their biggest role models so use your golden words in front of them like say please and thank you and speak to them like you would with anyone. Teach them through activity; example – you show them in kitchen that “Now mummy is using this yellow scrubber to wash the utensils with this bubbly dish washing liquid”. Show them the objects and actions so they pick up the names of things and tasks.
Respect- You can teach them respect by example. When they come to you leave your task for a moment and listen. No mobile phone or laptop surfing while they are conversing. If they throw a tantrum for extra play time let them know it is not okay to do so, they can ask for permission always which in turn shows them better and more respectful channels and methods of communicating.
Play- Word building blocks or puzzles; Simple three letter or two letter words from the start will help them immensely. Big picture word books, Number songs, sand writing, paper crushing and sticking etc are great ways of learning and teaching besides reading to enhance the play and learn environment and making it fun.
Building vocabulary – whenever you introduce a new word make sure you give an example and say the meaning and context in the simplest of ways. They will build up a great vocabulary throughout by learning and listening to the words. Show pictures to support the words or actions expressed by the words.
Talk- No substitute to talking. The best and the simplest way to communicate! Talking creates a great bond and also helps you to remain in touch with the child’s daily routines. They are more open to approaching you and you will be the first to know everything and this is a great start to the future of your relationship
Rewards- Always reward the kid for a good deed or a new word learnt or for trying a new thing this helps them and creates more curiosity to learn new things and in turn builds up a great and healthy communication environment.
Feedback- Always correct them in very polite and clear way. Your feedback and correct time of voice can have a profound impact on the way they communicate with others.
Encourage- Encourage them to speak up so they can always express their opinion in conflict of interest. You can lead by example by teaching them mindfulness and Being polite while putting across your point especially regarding rules and spaces. Expressing empathy, being kind etc through communication are great life skills to help kid survive in this world as an adult.
“Communication- The human connection- is the key to personal and career success” — Paul J. Meyers
Image courtesy – www.flintbox.com
- Pooja Guha-Bansode
- July 27, 2017
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