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Effective Communication with Children - Techniques and Tips

By Andrew Loh



Teaching good communication skills to your children need not be too difficult. Here are some of the most effective methods and techniques to enhance communication skills in your children.

Two critical questions will decide the outcome of any exercise that deal with the art of better communication. These two questions are:

  1. What type of activities will encourage and inspire children to talk and listen to others?

  2. What can parents do to cajole and encourage children to talk to others?

Listen to your Children - Children have their own problems and concerns. They also have the habit of talking endlessly to their parents to let them know about their concerns. It is very critical to listen to their problems, so that they will be encouraged to open up their minds. Children will have many things or issues to talk about and they need someone who can listen to their mind and solve their problems. Constant listening will also help improve relationship with your children. Parents can learn many things from their children, when they actively listen to them.

Child psychologists believe that listening forms an important part of communication. Many parents simply fail to listen to their children. Instead, they try to control their children by telling them to do what they have in their minds. This will eventually result in a perceived dissonance in the parent-children equilibrium.

Tips:

  • Encourage your children to speak and express their opinions. Let them know the importance of listening to others first before talking to them.

  • Teach them how active and meaningful communication occurs between two people.

  • Teach them basics of communicating with other people, especially adults.

  • Train them how to be polite, while talking to others. 

Activities: Teach how to talk to others over a phone or ask them to tell some stories in their own words.

Use Encouraging and Cajoling Words - Children always do well with positive attention displayed from their parents. They want unlimited love and affection from their parents too. Parents should use encouraging and cajoling words of encouragement. They should also avoid using negative words that would make them negative-minded. If children do something good, parents should complement them immediately with good words and phrases. A relatively large numbers of words and phrases can work wonder, while unnecessary criticism and ridicule will lead to several disadvantages. Make it a point to praise your children for their efforts and not their intelligence or smartness.

The important part of this exercise is to let your children know that praising or speaking good words is always better for them. Your children should understand that speaking good words to others would create a harmonious, personal relationship.

Activities: Make sure that you use encouraging words, while you are talking to your children. Following are some of the most important keywords -

  • Good,

  • Very good,

  • Fantastic,

  • Excellent,

  • Amazing,

  • Fine,

  • Great,

  • Right,

  • Correct,

  • Wonderful,

  • I am so proud of you,

  • I like the manner in which you are doing your homework,

  • That was really good,

  • Very Nice,

  • Nice,

  • You are doing well,

  • That is good,

  • That is a great idea,

  • What a great idea,

  • Great job,

  • Good job,

  • Keep it up,

  • You are improving,

  • You were so patient,

  • You did great,

  • You are a genius,

  • I appreciate that you did your homework by yourself,

  • I like your initiative,

  • I simply love you and

  • Many other words that you find are good for your children.

Importance of Non-Verbal Communication Skills - Non-verbal skills are as important as verbal skills, because people always use non-verbal expressions to convey their ideas and expressions. Body posture and body language could help people in silent conversation with others. Such conversations occur between two people as a part of cultural dissemination. Practice a number of role-playing games that use the basic art of body language.

Activities: Facial expressions and body movements are the originators of communication between two persons or among a group of people. Movements of eyes, twitching of facial muscles, nodding of head, movements of hands and general positioning of the body indicate different meanings to different people. You may wish to learn these body movements by yourself before teaching them to your children. Buy a book that gives you practical information on body language and body dynamics.

Encouraging Speech - Classroom is not a place for learning how to speak, because it is a controlled environment, where the teacher does all the talking. Children are the passive listeners in a typical classroom. On the other hand, home could be the place, where children can learn how to speak. Encourage free speech with your children by letting them to speak to their heart's content. Correct them, when they commit some simple mistakes. Play teacher-student games, where your children are the teachers and you, their obedient student.

Activities:

  • Board games

  • Puppet show

  • Shop or a theatre

  • Classroom imitation

  • Impromptu speech

Learning by Imitation - This is a wonderful way of learning the art of effective communication. Children always imitate their teachers and elders. You can use this advantage to teach your children the basics of effective communication.

Activities:

  • Initiate a debating competition in your home for the benefit of children

  • Start the debate and dialogue

  • Ask your children to start talking on any topic of their choice

  • Help them to start the conversation and keep it going

  • Correct them, if they commit any mistakes or errors

Many a time, children may feel shy and withdrawn, while talking to their teachers and friends. Sometimes, they could even be suffering from a self-esteem problem. Parents will need to encourage their children to shed their inhibitions and negatives. They should also play an active role to help their children learn and master the art of effective communication.

Featured Resource

Between Parent and Child: The Bestselling Classic That Revolutionized Parent-Child Communication
By Dr. Haim, G. Ginott and Alice Ginott

Over the past thirty-five years, Between Parent and Child has helped millions of parents around the world strengthen their relationships with their children. Written by renowned psychologist Dr. Haim Ginott, this revolutionary book offered a straightforward prescription for empathetic yet disciplined child rearing and introduced new communication techniques.

In this revised edition, Dr. Alice Ginott, clinical psychologist and wife of the late Haim Ginott, and family relationship specialist Dr. H. Wallace Goddard usher this bestselling classic into the new century while retaining the book's positive message and Haim Ginott's warm, accessible voice.

 

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