From the time your children are born, the best way to help them learn effective speaking skills is to talk with them all the time. Even when your children are babies, you can still interact with them through the use of smiles, noises, hand claps, and music.
Communicating with your children should be easy, but there are still some important things that you should keep in mind.
Here are some don’ts when interacting with your children.
Talking/Answering For Them
When you talk to your children, always remember to give them the opportunity to respond. Although your children won’t be responding with fluent sentences, they will be learning that people take turns talking. From a young age, children should be encouraged to respond to you even if it’s just with gurgles, smiles, and hand clapping when they’re babies.
Anticipating Their Needs
Along with talking/answering for your children, you can significantly discourage your kids’ need to speak by anticipating their needs. While you may have good intentions, a better approach to anticipating your children’s needs is to ask them to request the things that they would like. The ultimate goal is to encourage your children to feel comfortable voicing their needs by initiating conversation.
Just like it’s important for your children to learn taking turns in conversation by responding to your questions, it’s also important for you to respond to the gestures and speaking attempts of non-verbal children. When you do this effectively, you’ll create a safe environment for your children to talk more.
If your children have difficulty speaking, by all means, don’t ridicule their mistakes. Doing so will only make them self-conscious and less likely to communicate. Be compassionate, and with the help of gestures, you’ll gradually be able to understand what they are saying.
Whenever your children begin to speak, you should give them as much time as they need to complete their thoughts. Before responding in a hurry, make sure that your children have enough time to process information, think, and respond. In addition to talking, you can also communicate with your children in other ways like using pictures, demonstrations, and other learned strategies.
Always remember the process of talking can be frustrating for the child, too.
As your children begin to speak more, be particularly careful about correcting their grammar. Keep in mind that sentence structure isn’t important until your children have reached three word sentences.
Saying Too Much Too Quickly
Make sure that when you talk with your children, you aren’t saying too much too quickly. Speak slowly, keep directions/comments simple, and allow for processing time.
Dominating The Conversation
Whenever you communicate with your children, it’s a good idea to encourage them to sometimes lead the conversation. Try to be less directive and commanding.
Using Baby Talk
As your children grow, you may find yourself using less baby talk. For optimal communication, consider using language models appropriate to your children’s needs and age groups. Most importantly, make sure that you understand the differences between a simplified model and baby talk.
Requiring Polite Formalities
During the early developmental stages, communication is more important than polite formalities. At this point in learning how to talk, focus on ensuring that your children can speak in complete sentences before requiring them to add “yes ma’am,” “no ma’am” and “yes sir,” “no sir” in their interactions.
Asking Yes/No Questions
Since yes and no questions tend to end a conversation, these types of questions should be avoided. Why not ask open-ended questions instead like “What would you like to drink?” rather than “Would you like to drink some juice?”
Rote/Academic Language Learning
Many parents are unaware that academic learning and rote learning skills like the alphabet, numbers, and colors aren’t important for preschool children to communicate needs. Letters and numerals are symbols without purpose until attributed to spoken language or quantity. Children should have encounters that connect these symbols, letter names and sounds to each other before attempting memorization.
Schedule A Consultation Today!
Does your child have problems with speech or hearing? If so, Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center is here to help! We proudly offer treatments, evaluations, and screenings for a variety of areas. Call us today at 904-355-3403 to schedule a consultation!