Communication Skills for Kids
Are you a Parent who is Currently Homeschooling?
With the current COVID-19 situation forcing all our children out of schools and into homeschooling situations, there’s a bigger focus than ever before on ensuring children get a well-rounded education, without essential socialisation, and without too much pressure given the current stressful circumstances.
Learning life skills / soft skills are the way forward for all children
This means we not only need to be teaching school subjects, but soft skills like communication skills for children. Soft skills are extremely valuable as an adult and as a child so they can manage how they interact with the world more easily.
Important soft skills, like cooperation, leadership skills and work ethic are focussed on more in adulthood. But this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t teach our children some of these skills from a young age. One of the most important skills that children learn from their parents or guardians is how to communicate. This may start off with babbling, then turn into a couple of choice words, then it’ll progress into asking for things like food or attention, and then full sentences.
Here are 5 tips on how to help your child become a great young communicator:
1. Set aside time for talking and listening to each other
Set aside time for simply talking and sharing with one another, so they can express themselves and learn to listen to what you share, too. Family meals can be a great time for kids to practice communication skills, as it maintains a comfortable setting and doesn’t feel too formal or intimidating. You can also do this while doing activities together.
2. Be open to discussing all kinds of feelings
Children experience fear, anger, joy, frustration and anxiety, just like adults, but the trick is to make sure you create a culture of talking about it in the home. This helps your child develop a ‘feelings vocabulary’. Learning the difference between discussing an emotion and feeling an emotion is an important step for a child learning to communicate. This way, when they encounter something at school that makes them feel angry, for example, they’ll be better equipped to deal with it maturely.
3. Listen to your child
This simple act of setting a good example is so underappreciated. It’s important to cultivate the idea that, in order to communicate, one has to listen. By showing your child that what they have to say is important to you, you’re giving them the idea that, in order to communicate well, listening is just as important as talking. It also helps them feel valued and more able to speak up about their concerns, rather than being brushed off or ignored.
4. Encourage honesty
By praising your child when they tell the truth, you’re reinforcing the idea that being forthcoming with the truth is a positive thing. Again, everything you praise will be remembered as positive, so it’s good to encourage honest conversation, especially when talking about feelings during this time, or any other time.
5. Remember the value of repetition
It might be a good idea to have a mantra, rhyme, or song to help drive home any good ideas you want your child to remember. Children use repetition to help them remember ideas (which is why nursery rhymes are often so repetitive!). For adults, repetition can be boring. For children, it is valuable because each time they experience something, their knowledge of it becomes more secure and their feeling of self-worth increases.
It’s important to remember that your child learns everything by watching you carefully, so if they see you expressing yourself calmly and respectfully, they’re likely to learn the same habit. Remaining patient, empathetic, and respectful of others is a skill that will serve them well into adulthood, and learning these key communication skills early on is sure to benefit them in the long run.
Even though you may not be their school teacher, you will teach them much of what they need to know about life, so it’s worth remembering that responsibility and taking joy from the fact that your child is so excited about communicating with you!