Practicing communication skills is an important aspect in the child’s mental and spiritual growth. Children absorb their parents interactions with others, collect words they hear daily and later use to communicate and express themselves. Frustrating moments can be the most challenging time to encourage your child to practice communication skills in a clam manner. But the challenge becomes more within ourselves to stay focus during trying times and guide your child to practice communicating in a calm mindful way in his early years.
Below are two techniques you can apply to encourage your child to practice communication skills everyday.
1. Show Me
“Showing vs telling” approach tends to be a powerful tool many educators use and has proven to effectively work for parents too. “Showing” is like presenting a visual guide of expectations they can practice immediately while setting clear expectations they can imitate. “Telling” them what to do sometimes comes with to many words and the child can become easily distracted or unclear about whats he is expected to do instead. Although language is an important aspect when redirecting, role modeling allows opportunity to make teachable moments.
Example: Megan likes to pet her dog but is consistently ruff when she does.
Instead of telling her:
“Megan leave the dog alone!
Try showing how to gently pet the dog:
“This is how you pet the dog.”
Speaking clearly and concisely to the child will help him understand how to communicate his needs and emotions effectively vs winning, hitting or crying.
2. Encourage Use of Words
Providing simple words he can use to communicate his needs while he gains language development.
Example: Ben and Michael are playing together in the playroom. Suddenly Ben takes away a block from Michael’s hands. Michael becomes frustrated and begins to cry and while trying to take it back from Ben.
Encourage use of words by: Providing Michael with the words to communicate his frustration to Ben.
“Michael it seems like your frustrated because Ben took the block from you. Tell Ben its my turn, give it back please.”
Allowing the child to speak up for themselves it gives opportunity to gain self confidence by encouraging the use of words.
Tips to help you apply these techniques:
- Come down to their eye level to communicate to your child.
- Try to practice calming techniques like breathing before redirecting your child. Then show him to take a deep breath before confronting the situation in a mindful manner.
- Remember to always provide a couple words he can repeat, that will help them communicate his needs. Using to many words will confuse your child and discourage the use of words.
- Practice communicating to your spouse and others in a calm and respectable manner. Be an active role model!
- Here is a resourceful link to learn more about experts have to say on language development: