How to communicate effectively with preschool children

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One of the best ways a parent can do is to verbalize what his child is thinking.

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.

Some tips to help your son develop interpersonal skills

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Nathaniel takes time to pose for the camera.

Helping children to become adept at interacting with others should be every parent’s priority right from the very start. A child with good interpersonal skills, something he was able to acquire or having learned starting at such a very young age, has this awareness of his own thoughts and feelings much more pronounced than in children with poor interpersonal skills and knows intimately about the distinct and different feelings and thoughts of people other than his own self. Because of this special ability of the child to perceive or foresee how others must be feeling and thinking through him, he can more than regulate his words and actions with ease and grace and his sensitivity towards them would be serving him in a positive way.

On the other hand, children with poor interpersonal skills tend to be insensitive or unaware of their own feelings. This results to their having difficulty reading others and may have poor perception or knowledge at how others might be viewing them. Modifying their words or actions according to the circumstances became a difficult task for them to overcome. Here are some important tips to help children develop interpersonal skills:

TEACH YOUR CHILD HOW TO GIVE COMPLIMENTS

Encourage him or her to comment positively on others (unless when there’s nothing in that person worthy of praising). Say something nice to your child and when he return the favor by saying something good about you, too, let him know how it makes you feel happy or good. Train or help him see the bright side of everything. That is one best way for him to have a healthy disposition of life and he will have a lot to be grateful for.

MAKE GREETINGS AND GOODBYES A HABIT

When you’re practicing greetings and goodbyes for your child, you’re helping him or her prepare for introductions and departures. Your child must also be praised for a job well done. On-the-spot requests or demands should be discouraged and, instead, should be replaced with positive reinforcement which is proven to be much more effective.

HELP YOUR CHILD IN FINDING A WAY FOR HIM TO RELATE CAUSE AND EFFECT

One of the most effective and best of ways to help your child develop a theoretical understanding of cause and effect is through storytelling and reading. You as a parent should be able, to the best of your ability, to help or encourage him in the application of those lessons by citing or pointing out how his actions were causing reactions in his own life.

GUIDE HIM IN MAKING CONVERSATIONAL TRANSITIONS

It is of the utmost importance for every parent to help his or her child in understanding the necessary give-and-take of conversation and how to transition; this must be done by carefully discussing his own interests, and then to inquire about something of interest to another person. This method supports the fact that conversation is, actually, an inherently social thing.

CAPITALIZE ON HIS INTERESTS

Capitalizing on your child’s interests, whether it’s a particular hobby, game, sport, character, or skill, is one way to encourage him to become more verbal and socially adept. Make way to communicate well with him, talk to him. Talk to him about how and what you’re feeling, thinking, and you could ask him how and what he feels or thinks, too. Make conversation a way that you can penetrate right through his very core.

The importance of effective communication between parents and children

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A one-on-one talk with my son Nathaniel in this charcoal-sketch themed picture.

Effective communication is a process by which one person is able to maintain the dynamic connection happening between him and the other person and vice versa. Once effective communication is established between you and the other person or of one group of people to another, empathy comes along naturally allowing you and the other person to participate in the shared experience of joy, and even the pain the other person is feeling. It is about communicating well and working together to understand each other.

Communicating well, by the way, is to effectively deliver the exchange of information, meaning, and feelings of a particular person towards the other, in both the verbal and the non-verbal aspects of it. The question as to whether or not good communications alone can solve problems or resolve issues should be debated over and again. But one thing is for sure, though, anyone who lacks these skills cannot solve problems or resolve issues in the first place.

In the case with parent-child relationship, effective communication is of the utmost importance as the way you talk and listen to your child can have a profound effect on his personality and general well-being. Every word you say is like a strand of thread weaving your child’s identity. Everything you do counts, so that even your facial expressions, like a spell you’re weaving about your child, he will come to experience as something to enmesh him like a spider’s web.

One best way to communicate to your child is to make him feel that every word he says is making sense at all to you. It’s about the appreciation of the worth, the reality of who he is in his own frame of reference as you set aside yours. In that way, you are sending him a message that his way of looking at things is approved by you.

Qualifying your child’s experience does not always mean you have to necessarily agree with him or that his personal thoughts and opinions should as well reflect that of your own. Rather, it is about the total submission of yourself to the center of what is the truth as your child tries to embrace his own interpretation of reality. When you allow your child to meet his basic needs to express himself, you’re validating him in the best possible way.

When you and your child is having a one-on-one talk, no matter what the topic is, it holds both of you towards the center. The purpose of a dialogue is for one person to initiate the discussion while the other person understands what that person is trying to convey and vice versa. To engage in a dialogue with your child is one way you can understand him better.

Learning to dialogue and to stay with it until such a point where emphatic connection between you and your child has been reached, you’re doing more than just a dialogue with him. You’re actually teaching your child how to communicate by showing to him that you are ready to listen aside from expressing your appreciation for his efforts. It sure will not only help you grow as a parent and as a person but as well to give you an insight about how you must connect with your child.