How to improve Communication Skills with Preschoolers
Communicating with our kids is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding parts of parenting. The ability to speak effectively is a key skill, and the better we are at it, the better our quality of life will be.
Early language and communication skills are essential for children’s success in school and beyond. Language and communication skills include the capability to understand others and convey oneself using words, gestures or facial expressions. The best way to tutor children anything is to make it fun and engage as many of their five senses as probable. Here are some tips that will encourage effective communication skills in your children.
Talk often with your child
Kids who have a problem in communicating may be unwilling to talk at all. Your job is to encourage your child to initiate or engage in conversation as much as possible so she begins to feel more comfortable sharing her thoughts.
Make conversation during travel about where you’re headed, or during meal preparation about the steps involved in what you’re making. Demonstrate how to make conversations relevant to what’s happening around your child. Introduce new words and concepts all the time. Model phrases she can use as conversation starters.
Give Wait Time
Most of us don’t even wait for people to finish a sentence before we chime in with what we have to say. A good rule of thumb is to wait 5-10 seconds for your child to answer. It gives your child time to process what they want to say. This can also prevent or diminish stuttering in some children.
What’s going on in the Picture?
This one is great for the little ones. Have your child tell you what he sees in a picture. Encourage him to describe the scenery, the people, and the colors … anything he sees. For older children, have them talk about what they think might have just happened before this scene and what they think will happen after. This gives them practice in formulating thoughts in a logical manner that others can easily recognize.
Conclude a Story
This one is also very good for different age groups. Kids love stories! You begin a story and have your child conclude it. For very young children, you can tell them a nursery rhyme and have them make up an alternate ending or add on to the story. This exercise is great for training beginning verbal communication skills.
Talk through the types of situations your kid might be the most anxious about— for example, conversation to other kids while waiting for the bus or sitting with them at lunch. Then practice what your child might say. Take turns pretending to be each person in the discussion so that your child can think through different scenarios, conversation topics, and responses.
It doesn’t matter what you read with your kid. What’s most important is that you do it together. Even if your child chooses the same books every night, she is developing a better understanding of the character and plots and vocabulary used. Take turns reading aloud to one another, even if your child just fills a word in here and there. After finishing a book or TV show, discuss the setting, plot, characters and any new words that might be in the story.
Ask your child’s opinion
Communicating requires your child to reflect on feelings. So inquire your child to weigh in on daily decisions. It can be as simple as which library you should go to or where you might spend your vacation. Also ask your child’s opinion about relevant happenings, such as, “Should the other team has won?” Thinking about recent news events? Using “I think” or “I feel” statements is good practice for having successful everyday conversations.
Repeat Words Often
Especially when your children are little, they have to hear sounds and words at least 100 times before they will even start trying to say it. Don’t limit how many times you say the same word. Repetition is the key to learning and it is how to improve communication skills.