Communicating with your kids goes beyond developing language skills. It helps them feel safe and secure in their relationships, which is the foundation for learning and development!
Develop and encourage good communication from birth.
- Have conversations with your newborn. Say something and then pause, as if you’re waiting for your baby to speak.
- When your baby gets older and starts babbling, babble back and see whether you get a response!
- Narrate your day and everyday tasks you are doing with your baby. This introduces them to the way words sound and what words relate to or mean.
With your toddler and bigger kids, try this:
- Set aside time for talking and listening to each other. Family mealtime can be a great time to do this!
- Turn off all screens when you and your kids are communicating so you can completely focus on the interaction.
- Talk about everyday things as you go through your day. If you and your kids are used to communicating a lot, it can make it easier to talk when big or tricky issues come up.
- Prompt your kids to tell you how they are feeling. Be open to talking about all kinds of feelings, including anger, joy, frustration, fear, and anxiety.
- Tune in to what their body language is telling you, and try to respond to non-verbal messages, too.
- Use your own body language to show you’re listening, like crouching down so you’re at their level, making eye contact, and getting close to them.
- Involve your kids in conversations you are having with others. This could be as simple as asking what they think or what they would do.
- Build on what your child is telling you and show your interest by saying things like “Tell me more about…” “Really!” and “Go on…”
- Avoid interrupting or finishing sentences, even when they say something strange or are having trouble finding words.
- Don’t rush into problem-solving! They might just want you to listen and show that you value their feelings and point of view.