able to effectively communicate with children is perhaps one of the most
important parenting skills.
of course, means investing quality time with the family, especially with the
children. And by that, I mean, turn off the TV, keep the iPod away and
definitely, get rid of the mobile phone.
with children entails a two-way conversation littered with changing emotional
contexts and impulsive behaviours, which requires careful listening, patience
and genuine involvement.
is it important to spend the time to communicate?
children create views influenced by their daily experiences, hence healthy and
positive communication experiences allow children to know and understand more
studies have concluded that the best parent-offspring relationship is fostered
by positive interactions. When parents and their children communicate and
discuss everything with each other regularly, it creates less conflict, and if
there is any conflict, it’s also easier to resolve it.
also suggests that when adults show a genuine interest in what children have to
say, it creates less aberration in behaviour of action, which requires
is this more pertinent than in home and school.
and teachers alike must be aware of the fact that their communication method
and behaviour has to be appropriate to the age of the child, to build
self-esteem and mutual respect.
are some basic principles which we can all follow when communicating with
And that means, really listen. It gives a clear message to the child that you
are interested and involved.
it’s not the end of the world on the news or the family soap opera, then please
switch off the TV, or the music, or close the book or paper you are reading,
when your child wants to talk to you.
communicate better in a one-to-one situation, so make that possible by creating
a sense of privacy.
one likes to be put on the spot, and children are emotionally sensitive, more
than you think, so don’t embarrass or belittle the child in front of others.
This will create defensive behaviour bordering on hostility.
get down to the child’s physical level during a conversation.
children can be trying and if you lose your cool, don’t communicate till you
have regained your composure. A word or two said in heat can cause lasting
resentment and regret.
cannot over-emphasize the importance of listening. When the day has been really
long and hard, you have to make a greater effort to listen to the child trying
to tell his/her story.
not dismiss suggestions made by your child nonchalantly. For example, refrain
from saying things like “Don’t get involved in what others do” or “What’s the
sense in that?”
avoid using words like stupid, dumb, lazy, etc which will diminish the child’s
view of themselves and their self-esteem.
often make mistakes. Instead of deriding them, what’s more effective is to
encourage the child to keep the communication open. There isn’t much point in
asking why something happened, knowing and understanding what happened will be
rather more fruitful.
frequently want to hear words of encouragement and praise. When you use words
like great, marvellous, excellent, correct etc, they create a sense of
achievement. Children feel loved and appreciated.
while words and the manner in which they are communicated to a child play a
crucial role, non verbal communication gestures such as a pat on the back,
smile, nod, showing approval, eye contact etc, will help in completing a
wholesome interaction with a child.
epitomise the behaviour of their parents and teachers. The right model of
communication will enable a child to share their thoughts, ideas, opinions and
emotions, comfortably and uninhibitedly.