Talking about young children and how to communicate with them effectively, especially the preschooler ones, some important things must be considered. Preschool children, by the way, are those who fall in the under six years old category. While it is true that very young children don’t have the vocabulary of the rest of us nor the experience to accurately pinpoint abstract ideas, yet it is advisable for you, as a parent, and also for the rest of the adults of their lives, to talk to them with the same respect and intelligence that you’re going to show when you talk to everyone else.
Children under six years old are keen observers, great emulators, sensitive, and highly curious individuals. So communicating with them is something that requires a lot of patience, skills, and understanding. You must remember that, when talking to them, given the qualities of children under six years of age may have had been possessing, your body language is as important as what you say.
Yes, even your facial expressions are enough for the child to pick up and to interpret whether you’re interested and ready to hear for what he or she has to say. It would be important for the child when, seeing a powerful adult stops what he is doing in order to face his child, parents get down on his or her level and invite their child to tell what’s on his or her mind. And, if ever, you, as a parent, are puzzled or a bit confused by your preschooler’s behavior at any particular moment, ask him or her about it.
It is important to treat your child as a person and see if you can find out how he or she is feeling. You may start by asking your child, “Is there something wrong?” Or “Is there something bothering you?” And, yes, do not forget to offer your service by asking: “Can I help you with something?”
One of the best ways a parent can do is to verbalize what his or her child is thinking. This can be done, to start with, by encouraging the child to tell you first so that you don’t have to spend much time guessing. But it’s not always going to be what you expect from your child each time.
Sometimes, words do not come easily to your child and you think you know what’s going on. Ask your child instead, for this particular situation, a question that may help him or her identify and explore what it is that’s troubling him or her.
It is an ability of a parent to develop such a skill of putting into words what’s worrying both him and his child. And, by doing so, the parent should be careful enough not to use words that are full of misery or terror. He must be able to convey it well to his child that he understands how his child is feeling and that such feelings are normal.
There are times when, in trying to talk to your child, the right topic comes up at the wrong time, and you know you have to continue anyway. Even when you’re caught off guard, you want to keep your wits about you and remember why it is important to empathize, mirror, and validate, no matter what else you’re doing at the given moment. Unless you have some choice in the matter, paying attention to the physical setting of the dialogue is a good idea.
Communicating effectively with preschool children is all about, in my humble opinion, learning to dialogue and to stay with it until both of you (parent and child) reach empathic connection with each other. Show that you’re there to listen to what your child should be saying in the first place. Pay close attention to the physical setting, and be nonjudgmental.
Put in mind that you’re not there, in a dialogue with your child, as though you had to defend yourself in interchanges with your child, and he is not going to defend against you, either. But both of you, in the atmosphere of mutual understanding, are beginning to build solidly on such a new empathic connection that’s being formed. It is not just about talking with your child though, but you have got to do more than dialogue with him or her by teaching him or her to dialogue with you.