Communication Effectively with Children (Age-wise Guide)
Communication has not to be commanding all the time. The one thing that I am learning as I communicate with my toddler is that I receive the same as what I give. Kids often hear the tone of their parents while communicating. For a loving relationship and great bond, communication has to be kind and respectful.
The words that we say to our kids are not the only communication we must define. It depends on tone, behaviour, and nonverbal. Giving attention, making eye contact, showing body language also define what communication is all about. If you are giving the silent treatment to the kids’ unnecessary tantrums, send a message to the child. So, it depends on parents that what message you want your kids must get through your communication pattern. Always try to be mindful of that.
The communication method is one thing that a child carries all through their lives. The foundation of that communication method starts in childhood. Therefore, teaching the kid how to communicate starts a healthy relationship with positive communication skills.
Basic Aspects of Positive Communication
Showing respect to kids does not make you soft or lenient. It means that you can value your kids and the relationship that you share with your kids. What they see, they give you the same. If you respect them, they will learn to respect others.
ENCOURAGEMENT & PRAISE
Both encouragement and praise are good for kids because it helps them thrive and blossom. Do not fake praise or give unnecessary encouragement to bring out the accomplishment of the task from the kid. Genuine praise lets the child feel that they are seen or heard. It gives them the courage to make a personal judgment on the work quality. It makes them feel winning or losing is the result but trying to achieve anything is an opportunity of learning new things.
Cold shoulder or silent treatment is not a good way to communicate with your child. What you need to give is hugs, kisses, love, and affection without any condition. Conditional communication is not an effective way to let your kids express their thoughts.
Kids get a lot of vibes from body language. You have to keep your body language open, loose with a smile, proper eye contact to let the child know that you are 100% attentive when your kid tells you about an incident or a day. If you are not in a good mood, then try to explain the cause of your mood with age-appropriate words
The power of note is commendable. You can write a thank you and sorry note, for example. These written notes have so much power in them that your kid will feel good with these little gestures.
STYLE OF COMMUNICATION
Let’s see the different types of communication styles that every parent should follow as per age and the good interest of the kid.
Infant Communication (0-12 months)
Infant communication is more of nonverbal communication. It is more of crying, kicking legs, smiling, nodding. So, to make infant communication effective, what can you do:
- Talk and sing to baby
- When a baby cries, respond fast
- Read to the baby may not understand but enjoy listening to you
- Copy her gestures and sounds
- Always use a happy voice
- Laugh when a baby laugh
- Imitate the baby’s facial expression
Toddler Communication (12-36 months)
They are just using words and languages for communication. Encouragement in communication is a must.
- Show genuine interest in communication with kids.
- Try to understand when the baby is pointing to something that they want.
- While playing, try to incorporate a story with each game; for example- while playing with a train, make a cardboard tunnel and interpret that a train runs through a tunnel and its dark inside.
- Engage with your baby in their imaginative play
- Don’t be judgmental while they play the game in their way. Rather let them enjoy and explore their imagination.
- Talk about expressing their feelings and emotions and not suppressing them like “boys don't cry, or girls can play with dolls. In such a situation, it is not the responsibility of parents only but even ask other family members like grandparents gently to follow the same.
- Respect and acknowledge toddlers’ emotions to pave the right behaviour.
Pre-schoolers (3-5 years)
It is a stage where kids are talking, asking a lot about the world. Here is the list to encourage the communication of pre schoolers.
- Give options of free plays and imaginative plays
- Ask about the day, school, friends, teachers, and many more
- Ask them to express both negative and positive emotions
- Encourage kids' skill of problem-solving.
- They may ask many why's and how’s. Do not unheard them but give an age-appropriate answer
- When a pre schooler wants to communicate with you, give 100% attention.
- Smile, nod, or appreciate in their little achievement
- Try to understand their body language for communication. They are not able to put the right words for communication.
- Set positive boundaries and explain why they are important.
- Do not criticize but rather encourage their activities.
School Age (5-12 Years)
The age starts to look into the world realistically. The complexities of life will stick to them, and hence the communication also modifies with time.
- Keep an open room for communication and spend quality time.
- Ask specific questions
- Conflicts are common and decide the rules, obligations together and even counter the outcomes together. You are not an authoritative figure, but even your kid is part of the conflict, rules, and outcomes.
- Please pay attention to the emotions and never suppress them for younger kids.
- When your child has a point to counter your thoughts, let them finish; do not interrupt.
- Avoid criticism at any cost but be honest with your opinion when they ask for it.
- Your child may have a specific interest, be a part of that interest and ask them what they like more.
With that, I hope these baby steps will help you communicate with your children effectively, and this little human will become a full-grown, mature person ruling the world in the best way ever.