How to Improve Verbal Communication With Your Child

Are you wondering how to improve verbal communication with your child? Today’s guest post features three simple steps to improving your child’s verbal communication skills.

Are you wondering how to improve verbal communication with your child? Try these three simple steps to improving your child's verbal communication skills. #parenting #edchat #communication #raisingchildren #socialskills

How to Improve Verbal Communication With Your Child

 The ability to ask questions, respond appropriately, take turns in a conversation, and have needs met shapes every relationship children have from birth through school and beyond. Here are three simple ways to improve your child’s communication at every age.

1) Improve Verbal Communication by Being an Active Listener

Today’s fast-paced world is full of distractions, making it more difficult than ever to be an active listener. However, minimizing distractions serves two purposes: First, it makes your child feel as though what he or she has to say is important. This sense of security is vital for teenagers who will often clam up if they feel ignored, but it is also necessary for infants who communicate in their own way. If your baby coos, coo back. If your baby laughs, laugh with him or her.

Second, active listening encourages more communication. Have you ever asked a 4-year-old about his or her favorite movie or story character? Beyond that initial question, many 4-year-olds will continue talking long after they have exhausted your ability to pay attention. Extend your own listening by asking periodic questions that dive deeper into story, character traits and feelings. This active listening activity encourages give and take — a skill many adults find challenging. It’s important to keep questions curious rather than probing, especially when speaking with older children. The last thing you want is for an innocent conversation to turn into an interrogation.

3 Easy ways to improve your child's verbal communication

2) Take Advantage of Odd Times and Spaces to Improve Verbal Communication

If your child is already verbal, think of the last time you had a great conversation with him or her. It may have happened when you were doing dishes, driving in the car, getting ready for bed or walking to school. As surprising as it may seem, the lack of eye contact in these parallel positions helps children and teens talk more feely than sitting eye to eye. These are also generally times when distractions are kept to a minimum. Take advantage of these times and spaces and allow your kids or teens to open up rather than shooing them out or moving them on to the next task.

3) Read Together — Even When They Can Read Themselves

It is impossible to overstate the importance of reading with your child. Infants associate reading with closeness and comfort, even when they cannot follow the story. Toddlers learn early reading concepts such as the direction a page is turned and how we read print. However, only 17 percent of parents read to their children after their 9th birthday.

Many of us assume that once our children can read on their own, reading together is no longer a necessary pastime. In reality, reading aloud to your preteens and teenagers can spark conversations and open doors of communication that would otherwise remain closed. It also continues to enhance your children’s language and both written and verbal communication skills. Create a family book club and take turns selecting popular books to read together. You can even set a specific time to discuss the book, create a themed menu, dress like a character or make a special treat based on the book.

Learning how to communicate with other people begins the minute your children open their eyes. Active listening — including taking turns and asking curious questions, taking advantage of the “in between” times, and reading together — throughout your children’s lives can enhance their communication skills as well as yours.

Author bio: Lisa Orlando is Senior Vice President, Marketing and Strategy of the Invo Family of Companies, which includes Invo-Progressus — a provider of employment and professional development for therapists. The company connects qualified candidates with job opportunities across the United States. 

What are your top tips on how to improve verbal communication? Share your ideas in the comments below, on my Facebook page, or by tagging me on Instagram

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

1 thought on “How to Improve Verbal Communication With Your Child”

  1. Great ideas. My kids are a little older but I find that I have a great chance to catch up with them when I am driving them around. They are a captive audience so we get a chance to talk. I also try to catch up at night doing the same bedtime reading to my son, in 7th grader, who reads independently but likes to be read to.

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