Do’s and Don’ts of talking to your children

Do’s and Don’ts of talking to your children

Whether your child is typically growing or a late talker or has speech-language delay, the basics of communicating remain the same. Here are some very simple do’s and don’ts of talking to your children, which will benefit them now and in the long run. Your child may or may not acknowledge and respond to all your efforts, but it is essential to keep going.

Blank and DOs and DON'Ts memo papers attached with green and pink pins.

 

DO’S

  • Maintain eye contact whenever you talk or the child talks. It is important to get down to the child’s level when talking because it establishes connection with the child, and sends a signal that you’re interested. (Have you noticed how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge always bend down to talk to their children?!)
  • Lot of repetitions– Be repetitive with your sentences and words. Use the same words in different contexts multiple times. The more your child hears the word, the more likely he is to relate to it and remember it.
  • Self Talk – Self talk is to talk about things that you are doing. Simple example would be making chapattis in the kitchen. Few sentences you could use “look mummy is going to roll the dough”, “now I am going to make small balls”, “now I will flatten it with the pin” and so on.
  • Parallel talk – Talk about what the child is doing. Simply become a mouth piece for your child when he/she is silently playing. Some sentences could be “oh you’re dashing the car”, “wow that is a beautiful doll”, “the doll is brushing her hair” etc. Watch a video here
  • Talk about what they’re seeing and trying to say – When the child is trying to say something, talk about it. Talk about what interests them.
  • Expand their sentences – The child may use very basic words. Add on more words and sentences to it. Example a child may say “doggy house”. You can add on saying “yes, doggy is in the house”, “the doggy is chewing on a bone”. Here is how
  • Use simple sentences – Gauge the child’s level of understanding first and use words accordingly.
  • Speak clearly and slowly-  Remember the child needs to absorb all the words you’re saying.
  • Turn every activity into a talking activity- You can talk about the whole kit and caboodle during their bathing time, feeding, dressing etc. Every situation has plenty of language stimulation you can provide. All you need to do is TALK.
  • Read to your child- Simple books with lot of illustrations will kindle excitement and interest in your child. Here are some books you can use. Check out a few books
  • Give choices and opportunities– Give children plenty of opportunities to talk and initiate conversation themselves. This will bring about more words or more attempts from them.
  • Reinforce and reward-  Say “wow”, “yay” or “good sentence” when a child says something impressive. Reinforcing will only lead to the child to do better.

 

DON’TS

  • Ask too many questions– Resort to commenting instead.
  • Complete their sentences all the time– The child will expect the parents to complete their sentences if done frequently and will limit their opportunities to talk.
  • Force your child to talk– Always attempt to make communication fun for your child and not make him/her averse it.
  • Use the word ‘say’– Let language building be natural. Provide the sentences or add on more sentences as and when required, but do not ask the child to “say”.
  • Use baby talk or telegraphic speech– Using baby talk should be restricted to when the child is a baby. Your speech needs to be modified as the child is growing.
  • Make everything accessible to the child- Tighten the jars lid. Keep his/her toys away from their reach. Let them ask for help. Let them initiate conversation. All these would add on opportunities for your child to talk.
  • Use the word ‘NO’ often- As an alternative, use sentences which the child should perform. For instance, if a child is jumping on the chair, don’t say “no jumping” or “don’t do it”. Use “it’s sitting time now” or “let’s sit and do this”.
  • Use complicated words– The child should be able to relate your words to the ongoing activity or an activity that has taken place. Using complicated words or abstract words (for younger kids) will yield minimal benefits.
    DO share with us what strategies has helped your child.
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