The channel of communication between a child and parent forms a benchmark for all future communications in a kid’s life. This is why it’s crucial to develop a healthy communication channel with your child at an early age.
A great back and forth with your child plays a major role in deepening and strengthening the bond with your little one. This is why we’ve collected a set of great tips to help you communicate well with children.
Our Top Tips for Communicating Well With Children
The following tips will help you ace creating a great line of communication with your child.
Understand Your Child’s Conversation Style
We have all heard about children having different learning styles, such as tactile learning and visual learning, but did you know that they also have their own conversation style? Some children can talk for days without incentive, while others are more measured with their words.
Some kids like to be responsive while others are reactive or even proactive while initiating conversation. This helps to understand which style your child is naturally drawn to in order to modify your own conversation style while chatting with them.
Create Talking Routines
When you have a young child at home, most days tend to pass in a blur. It begins with rushing your kids to school, and it ends with tucking them into bed. Most conversations tend to happen in the middle of these activities, such as when you’re driving your child to school or when you sit down for a meal together.
It helps to allocate a separate section of the day to specifically chat with your child with no ulterior motives or distractions. When you do this, your child understands just how much you’re interested in what they have to say, and it ends up encouraging them to build more conversations in their head in order to relay to you later.
Treat Them as Equals
Some people tend to talk down to children without giving their intelligence or sensibilities enough credit. Children do not enjoy being talked down to, and they really enjoy being treated as equals.
When you’re talking to your kids, make sure you react to them as you typically would instead of talking to them in an artificial way like a therapist.
When you share your honest emotions with them and you respond to them as you would with your peers, it allows them to appreciate the discussion even more, and they end up sharing more than they normally would.
Use Prompt Words
Kids sometimes need encouragement in order to dive deep into their vocabulary and truly express themselves. You can help create a great space around your conversation by using choice words that help them open up further.
Examples of these words include expressions such as:
- “Wow, tell me more!”
- “That’s really fascinating, go on!”
- “Amazing. Please tell me more”
Positive Terms Over Negative Ones
Children are often over-exposed to negative words at an early age, simply because parents are worried about their safety and well-being. Negative words here include versions of the word “Don’t” that end up discouraging a child’s spirit instead of uplifting them.
It’s essential to choose your words wisely when talking to a young child. Try and use as many positive terms as possible, even when you don’t want them to do something specific.
An example of this would be using the sentence “Please walk on the sidewalk” instead of saying, “Don’t run on the streets.”
We all know how kids respond when we ask them not to do something, don’t we? Yet we persist! That needs to stop as soon as possible.
Let Them Finish
We often give children a helping hand when it comes to finishing their sentences, but this isn’t great for their morale or vocabulary. They also tend to feel rushed when you attempt to put words in their mouth, and it’s counter-productive all around.
Instead, it’s advisable to let children finish their own thoughts at their own pace. They will end up feeling heard by the end of the conversation, and it also helps them develop their sentence structures and vocabulary over time.
Open up to Your Kids
Conversation is not a one-way street, and this is especially true when it comes to children. Allowing them to speak is great, but it’s also hugely beneficial to open up to your kids as well and let them into your lives as much as possible.
This has a double effect on your child’s mind. First, it allows them to understand their parents on a deeper level and lets them comprehend the larger world around them with greater ease. Second, it acts as a conversation trigger as children love adding their own twists and spins to your story.
A conversation where you open up about a colleague being difficult at work would probably open up a tangent where your child tells you more about the people who are giving them a bit of a difficult time in their own lives. They can use the lens of your life to examine their own experiences more closely and keenly.
Look at the World Through Their Eyes
Oftentimes, the actions of a child may not make sense to an adult, but that’s because we have difficulty perceiving the world through the eyes of a child. Kids tend to live in a fantasy world, especially until the age of seven, when their brains are operating on a different frequency altogether.
They tend to emit theta waves during this period, which allows them to view the world in an imaginative, almost-dreamlike state.
It may be challenging to view the world through the eyes of a child, but it’s important in order to communicate effectively with them.
In a situation where it seems like they have done something they shouldn’t have, they probably have a good explanation for it, which makes perfect sense to their worldview. Breaking a vase, for example, comes back to them testing the strength of objects around them, or even testing the boundaries of their parent’s patience or affection.
A child is continually experimenting through actions that may not make sense to us, but that’s when we need to push our own limits of perception and attempt to understand their point of view.
Children can be the simplest and sometimes the hardest people to talk to in the world. They rely on the adults around them to guide them through a period that will affect the course of their entire lives, and communication is a significant element in this equation.
Learning to communicate effectively with your child is a gift that keeps on giving. Not only will you be able to form a healthy and stable relationship with your kid in the long run, but you’re also equipping them with the tools they need to become the best version of the social animals that we clearly are!