Parenting is a love and life journey. And to walk that journey fully as a parent, you need to be mentally, emotionally, and physically present with your child to help them grow and develop.
Starting from day one; every interaction you have with your child is a type of communication; the look in your eyes, the tone of your voice, the hugs and kisses you give, the sound of your laughter, and the words you say.
All forms of communication shape their emotional development and teach them how to communicate with others later in life.
Types of Communication
Communication with your child can take two forms of communication; verbal type of communication and nonverbal type of communication.
- Verbal communication is how we use words to communicate, including pitch and voice tone, words and vocabulary we use, and the dialect your child best understands.
- Nonverbal communication includes intentional and unintentional communication, which we use through our body language, such as facial expressions, eye contact, hand gestures, and physical touches like cuddling your child and gently touching his face or hair.
Communicating with Your Baby
It is important to communicate with your baby from the time they are born, as this can help them learn language and develop cognitive skills. Here are some ways you can communicate with your baby:
- Your baby’s crying is his first ways of communication, so accept it and prais it.
- Respond to your baby’s sounds and gestures as they try to communicate with you so look them in the eye and encourage them with smiles and talk.
- Attend to their needs once they start crying, to let them know they have been noticed, acknowledged and understood.
- Talk to your baby frequently about anything and everything. You can also read to them from books and the daily paper.
Remember, your voice and physical presence will make your baby feel safe and calm to be more receptive.
Communicating with Your Toddler
Communicating with a toddler can be challenging, as they are still learning language and may not always be able to express themselves clearly. However, there are a few things you can do to make communication with your toddler easier:
- Use simple, clear language: Toddlers have a limited vocabulary; therefore, using simple, clear language will help them understand what you are saying and make it easier for them to communicate with you.
- Give your toddler enough time to finish what they are trying to say, and don’t interrupt them to correct what they say.
- Be patient with your toddler and show them supportive body language like; active listening, smiles, and encouragement to say more.
- Spend some time each day doing nothing else but talking exclusively with your toddler.
Just a side note to keep in mind, “A child that constantly interrupts adult conversations may be starved of attention.” so don’t ignore these interruptions. They do matter.
Communicating with an Older Child
Communicating with an older child can be a bit easier than communicating with a toddler, as they have typically developed more advanced language skills and a larger vocabulary. Here are a few tips for communicating with an older child:
- Make time daily to listen exclusively to your child without distractions.
- Use open-ended questions rather than asking “yes-no” answered questions to encourage your child to think and express their thoughts and feelings.
- Respect their autonomy, and allow them to have their own different opinion and respect their point of view.
- Do your best not to interrupt, lecture, or criticise.
- Be a good role model: Children often model their behavior on the adults around them, so it’s important to be a good role model when it comes to communication. Use polite language, listen to others, and resolve conflicts peacefully.
Keep in mind that active listening is a vital factor in this phase of your child’s growth. Therefore make sure you show your child that you’re actively listening to them all the time.
Tips for Effective Communication with Your Children
Effective communication with children is an important part of building a strong, healthy relationship with them. Here are a few tips for effective communication with your children.
Active Listening to Children
Active listening helps children feel they are well-heard and understood. When we interact with our little ones through gestures like encouraging smiles and affirming nods, we show our children that we are genuinely engaged with what they say and that we really care about what they’re telling us.
Another critical factor in improving our active listening as parents is to get down to the same eye level as our children when they speak; this way, they will feel much safer, calm, and more connected to us.
Another tip for you, if you ask your child questions like “what? How? When? And why?” you will help them improve their communication skills significantly, and it will teach them what details they should include in their stories later on.
Speak Clearly to Children
Children do not have as much vocabulary as adults; therefore, be clear and direct when talking to your child. Keep it simple, and stay away from complicated words and concepts.
The main goal of speaking clearly to your children is to help them understand what you are saying and teach them new words and concepts.
Remember, using kind language helps set a positive example for your children. In the end, the conversation should make your child feel respected and loved.
Explain Feelings to Your Children
Children don’t recognize feelings at an early age. They don’t know their names, and they don’t know how to regulate their emotions yet.
Therefore, we must teach them about feeling on the spot while experiencing them. When your child is trying to express their feelings verbally, listen to them with empathy and without judgment, contain their vulnerability, and help them express their feelings.
If your child is expressing their feelings in non-verbal ways – like laughing or expressing anger or sadness – help them put words to how they feel, “happy, sad, angry, etc.”.
Help for Family Communication Problems
The first years of your baby’s life are critical, and as parents, you need to pay attention to all the gestures and movements your baby is doing and how your little one is interacting with you when you talk to them or play with them.
Let’s say that by age two, you should see a cognitive reaction from your child towards your interactions with them.
However, if you notice any communication problem, like the following, you need to seek help from a professional.
- You think your baby or child has difficulty hearing.
- Your toddler isn’t speaking at all by two years of age.
- Your child doesn’t understand what you say by two years of age.
- Your child stutters or has some other form of speech difficulty.
- You have problems communicating with your child.
What is Effective Communication in Child Development?
Active listening, speaking clearly, reflective listening, show empathy towards the child, understanding non-verbal communication, avoiding bribes, explaining feelings, focusing on behaviour, and leading by example.
What is Effective Communication in Early Childhood Education?
Listening, understanding, and cognitively responding to others.
How does Effective Communication Support a Child’s Development?
Effective communication, like active listening, speaking clearly, explaining, and regulating feelings, help children to feel much safe and loved, which encourages them to interact in better ways with the outside world.
What is Meant by Effective Communication?
Effective communication is exchanging ideas, thoughts, opinions, knowledge, and data so that the message is received and understood with clarity and purpose.