Communication skills are something that we all need throughout our lives, and as parents, helping our child develop these skills can be one of the most enjoyable experiences. Children learn by watching, absorbing and copying things that happen around them even from a very young age. It may be things that you say, something that you do or daily occurrences that they become familiar with. Even before a child can talk, they will communicate with you through their actions and as a parent, you quickly learn to understand them.
As one of the top kindergartens in Bangkok, we appreciate the importance of excellent communication skills and encourage our pupils to communicate with their peers, teachers and others around them. We organise activities that involve communication and are designed to capture a student’s imagination and make learning fun. Of course, we appreciate that some children are more confident and outgoing than others and never make individuals feel pressured or uneasy communicating. If you would like to encourage your child to improve their communication skills, here are ten ideas that might help.
1. Talking about their day
Often one of the easiest things to discuss with your child is what they have done at kindergarten or school. Inevitably, some children will be more forthcoming than others, but it is worth persevering with as you will find out more about your son or daughter’s friends and things they like or don’t like doing. These are other topics of conversation that you can have at another time and refer back to. If your child is particularly enthusiastic about something, you should try to keep them talking about it as long as possible, showing interest and asking questions.
2. Showing an interest in what they want to talk about
One of the best ways to communicate with your child is to show an interest in something they are doing or want to talk about. Asking lots of questions is a great way to keep them talking but make sure that you listen to the answers. Children can pick up from an early age when someone isn’t listening, and just like adults, they find this frustrating and may result in them becoming more withdrawn.
3. Discussing what they have eaten
Another non-intrusive topic of conversation is food. Most children have very clear ideas about the types of food that they like or don’t like. A good time to have this discussion would be around meal times as they will see the relevance, so they are perhaps more willing to talk. If they are preoccupied or distracted by something else such as watching TV or playing, this, like any other topic, could be quite challenging.
4. Classmates and teachers
From a young age, children will start to develop opinions about their peers and teachers and are usually more than happy to share these opinions. It should be noted that kids do frequently fall out, so you shouldn’t become too concerned if they have fallen out with their “best” friend. Instead, listen to what they have to say and discuss things from the other person’s perspective. It can help them to develop emotionally, but it will also encourage prolonged communication.
5. Judging their emotions and feelings
Talking about feelings can be quite difficult, and it can be even harder for children when they can’t communicate their emotions effectively. As a parent, you should recognise a noticeable change and try to talk about it with your child. It will probably involve asking lots of questions, but it can have endless benefits if they can engage with you. Care should be taken not to push some topics too much, and the timing of entering into these discussions is vital.
6. Reading stories together
We often hear parents say that reading books to children is old fashioned, but we still believe that it plays a vital role in improving a child’s communication skills and developing their imagination. A skilled storyteller can bring a book to life, and your child can become encapsulated by the story. You must show enthusiasm when reading the story and avoid speaking in a monotone voice. Encourage your child to use their imagination and ask them their thoughts on key parts of the story.
7. Watch TV or play games together
While reading is more beneficial, watching TV or playing games together certainly has its place. It is a way of bonding, and they will see that you share a common interest. Again, asking questions will be central to how successful this approach is, and if you are playing games, you should make sure you are enthusiastic but don’t get too competitive!
8. Visit the park
Doing anything together is a fantastic way to build a bond with your child, which will always lead to naturally increased communication levels. One of the easiest things to do together is to visit the park as you will always see something new. Being outdoors is healthy for children, and the change of scenery will give you both something different to talk about, which will help extend their vocabulary – something that can be hard at home.
9. Scrapbook of their life
Most children enjoy crafts, and creating a scrapbook of their life will help their communication skills whilst also giving something that they can look back on throughout their lives. The scrapbook can also be frequently referred back to, and you can discuss items or memories contained within it. It is an excellent tool to help with communication skills, especially among younger children.
10. Involve them in family discussions
Although there are many topics that you wouldn’t discuss with children, there are equally as many which you can. Places to go or things to do can help them feel more involved and help boost their self-confidence and communication skills. It is something that works better with slightly older children but can be beneficial for all age groups.
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We hope this article gave you some ideas about how you can help your child develop their communication skills. At Kidz Village, we encourage children to communicate with others in a fun and positive way. For more information, please call us on +66 2888 3337 or contact us directly via our website.