Healthy communication can not only strengthen a parent-child bond, but also create a model for your children as to how they should communicate with others. Here, the early childhood development professionals at Celebree Learning Centers explain the best practices for teaching your little ones how to effectively communicate.
Learning how to effectively communicate with others is essential to a child’s development. Below are some key tips as to how you can influence better communication in the home.
Make time – Our lives are busy, but communication time should be sacred. Find a time each day to catch up with your child. Make sure to focus on having a conversation that involves questions and engaging answers. Multi-tasking will only make a child feel unwelcome or ignored. Giving your child your undivided attention will help them do the same when you communicate with them.
Actively listen – It is easy to superficially listen, but actively listening will help your child feel loved, validated, and understood, while also teaching them to do the same. When having a conversation, face them directly. This lets them know that what they are saying is important and deserves your full attention. Let your child speak, and wait for them to finish before responding. Repeat back to them what they have said, modeling the language they used. Wait again for them to affirm that what you’ve repeated is correct. This type of listening allows you to get more out of the conversations you have with your child, providing more meaningful insight into their thoughts and feelings.
Empathize – Some children become anxious discussing their private thoughts and feelings. Let them know that you are there for them, and want to understand where they are coming from. Help them identify what they are feeling, and acknowledge that feeling as a valid one. If you come to a disagreement, do not belittle or argue with them. Let them know how you feel, and that it is okay for the two of you to disagree. This gives children a safe environment to speak, where they know they will be accepted and understood.
Give praise and feedback – Children want to be loved, and they want their actions and thoughts to be positively affirmed. If they are describing a positive behavior they exhibited, encourage and praise them providing additional feedback. Phrases like “Great job!” “I’m so proud of you,” or “You’re doing such a great job” can be expanded to “Great job! You put your shoes and socks on all by yourself.” This will encourages your children to continue modeling these helpful behaviors and is a hug influence on their achievement and self-perception. Feed back is more about the quality than quantity. Physical affirmations, such as hugs, kisses, and pats on the back, go a long way to promoting positive behavior as well.
Practice, practice, practice – Positive communication can be difficult, especially when we are tired, stressed or upset. Understand that you will not say the right thing every time, and that that is okay: you are not perfect, and neither is your child. You both must work together to become effective communicators, and the learning process is important. If you need a moment to compose or prepare yourself for a conversation, let your child know. Refocus yourself if your mind wanders by reminding yourself how beneficial positive communication is for your child. The more you practice it, the more you’ll succeed.
For more information on teaching your child effective communication in the home, or to learn how Celebree’s industry-leading educators employ positive communication techniques throughout our programs, contact Celebree Learning Centers today.