Good communication with your children helps them develop their language skills. Communication with your children improves your bond and encourages them to feel free to talk with and listen to you.
Here are 5 tips to help you talk with your child on their level:
- Have interactive conversations
- Children will tune out a conversation that isn’t engaging. For your toddler or preschooler, try to limit your conversations to a couple of sentences. This allows your child to absorb information and respond better. Children enjoy simple and direct answers, as opposed to long explanations. Allow your children space to respond to share their thoughts and opinions. Open-ended questions better engages children and allows them to share their answer without being limited.
- Take the time to listen to your children. Kneel down to their level to encourage them to talk and let them know they are being heard. Ask your child specific, open-ended questions to help you gather more information and increase your understanding.
- Consider your child’s opinion
- Whether they know it or not, children want to feel their opinion matters. Take the time to see a situation from your child’s point of view. Viewing the situation from your child’s perspective will help your conversation and improve your understanding of the situation and how your child feels. Give your child the chance to explain themselves, even if they are wrong. Let them explain first so you can better respond to their reasoning, especially if what they thought was understandable, but not the correct response.
- Come up with solutions together
- Children love to use their imagination. Engaging with their imagination is a great way to talk about possible solutions and can help your child develop problem-solving skills. If your child is complaining, ask them to suggest improvements to the situation. Using conversation encourages discussion of the problem AND the solution.
- Remember you’re talking to a developing child
- Be sure to offer limited choices, which gives a child a sense of power and control. Instead of saying, “What would you like to eat?” say, “Do you want green beans or broccoli?” The tone of your words will also be a key factor in your child engaging in conversation with you. Children will pay more attention to body language and tone instead of words. Being mindful of your tone will help you and your child have better conversations. Keep your conversations age-appropriate to their age and development. Follow your child’s lead in play and discuss their interests.