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The ability to communicate effectively is a skill children need to learn at a younger age.
Good communication skills help children build strong relationships, improve literacy, increase self-esteem, develop creativity, and boost their ability to think differently.
Thus, as a parent, it is essential to learn how you can help your child improve their communication skills.
For one, you can lead conversations with your child.
If your child is shy, introverted, or has trouble communicating, they would prefer to avoid conversations or not talk at all.
Hence, starting conversations and discussing random topics with your child will help them feel more comfortable opening up.
Also, an essential part of effective communication is the ability to express one's feelings adequately.
As children grow older, they experience several emotions and sometimes struggle to express them.
Thus, allowing your child to feel, respecting their feelings, and helping them recognize their emotions is essential.
Similarly, listening is a vital part of communication.
Showing interest in your child's conversation helps them believe they communicate well and motivate them to develop their communication skills.
It also teaches them that listening is as essential as speaking during a conversation.
Consider this overview to learn practical ways you can help your child improve their communication skills:
Children who struggle with communicating need a little push to encourage them to voice their thoughts and opinions.
Whether your child is introverted or simply anxious, starting regular conversations will allow them to ease up and open up.
Thus, taking the lead in conversations will help your child improve their communication skills.
A simple "how was your day?" can be a conversation starter after school. If your kid shrugs or gives a one-word reply, proceed to ask better questions.
Ask interesting questions about their school activities, favorite class, gym, or movie they are looking forward to watching.
Also, you can feed them random information and give them time to process and respond.
You can discuss dinner plans and the step in preparing the meals, share your favorite scenes or actors when watching a show and inquire about theirs.
As you do this, ensure to make the conversations as interactive and simple as possible.
It is important to note that children can get bored of the same old conversation starters and daily questions.
That is okay.
There are days when your child is more receptive to having a conversation and others when they want to be quiet.
Study your child's mood and body language to know the best times to converse with them.
Children may find it challenging to organize their thoughts into words at a younger age.
When your child finds it difficult to say a complete sentence due to speech difficulty, being dismissive or impatient will only make them withdraw and isolate themself.
Thus, to help your child improve their communication skills, listen when they talk.
An excellent way to start is to practice active and reflective listening with your child.
Actively listening means intently paying attention to their words and connecting with them.
Listening to them speak at the same eye level, using positive gestures, and asking questions are all ways to actively listen to your child and help them improve their communication.
Similarly, you can practice reflective listening by paying attention to your child's words and paraphrasing or mirroring key parts of their message to understand them better.
Doing this allows you to communicate better with your child and makes them feel understood and heard.
Listening and pondering what someone says before responding is a vital conversation skill your child can learn from you.
Not only do you get to connect and strengthen the bond with your child by conversing, but you also teach them valuable communication skills.
Children experience several emotions from a young age. Some of these feelings can be foreign, strong, or challenging to handle, thus making it difficult to communicate them.
Therefore, discussing all kinds of feelings will help your child improve their communication skills when dealing with them.
One way to help your child feel better discussing their feelings is to allow them to feel.
Often, children get upset, angry, frustrated, and throw tantrums, and the immediate reaction for most parents is to stop them.
However, allowing your child to have feelings and helping them label them will enable them to introspect and communicate them to you better.
Also, creating a safe space for your child to discuss feelings with you is crucial.
If you are too strict, easily irritated, or quick to anger, there's a tendency for your child to bottle up their emotions and hide them from you.
When you notice your child acting upset, you can say, "You seem upset about something. Do you want to talk about it?".
Asking them similar questions helps them become aware of their feelings and reactions.
Similarly, you can ask your child specific feelings-oriented questions.
Instead of "How was school?" you can say, "Tell me something that made you happy at school?".
Encourage them to discuss feelings with you freely.
Repeatedly doing this enables them to use more complicated emotional words in their conversations.
Children often watch the actions and words of adults around them and mimic them.
This means that how you communicate with people around your child is a model for them to imitate.
Thus, modeling healthy communication behaviors will help your child improve their communication skills.
Communicate respectfully, avoid interrupting the others person's speech, avoid raising your voice at people, avoid being dismissive or insulting, and give people the chance to talk about their opinions.
Your tone and choice of words matter when communicating with people.
Similarly, avoid judging, embarrassing, or belittling people's feelings.
Your kid needs to know they can tell you anything without being laughed at or judged.
Pay attention to them, remain calm and always collected, provide gentle guidance and give positive responses.
Also, you can share stories with your kids.
Storytelling creates a bonding moment with your child and allows them to open up to you on various subjects they were not comfortable sharing before.
Reading introduces children to new words and meanings and trains the brain to recognize sentences and language structure.
Also, reading enhances creativity and imagination, betters focus and memory, builds vocabulary skills, and improves speech, thus making it an effective way to help your child improve their communication skills.
Kids are auditory and visual learners.
Reading colorful books with them, naming characters and objects, describing pictures, and asking questions about the book will help them gain knowledge and develop a sound vocabulary.
Also, if your kid is shy and usually at a loss for words, encouraging them to read will provide lots of information they can use to start conversations in school.
Whether your child likes dinosaurs or motorcars, pick up books about their interests and read with them.
Kids love to share newly gained knowledge, especially on their favorite things.
Encourage your child to read at least one book daily to build their expressive language skills and make them better at communicating.
Good communication skills boost a child's self-esteem and allow them to develop interpersonal and social skills.
It also helps children maintain a healthy state of mind as the inability to communicate effectively can cause them to harbor negative emotions.
Practical ways to help your child improve their communication skills include starting conversations, listening when they speak, modeling healthy communication behaviors, discussing feelings, and reading with them.
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