Advice for Communicating with a Child
5 Tips for successful communication with a child
Communication can happen in a number of ways; physically speaking, body language or the written word for example. They each allow us to get our points across and receive information. Although, this can be difficult when communicating with a child. Here are some tips in order to ease the communication barrier with a child.
Tip #1 : Speak in a normal tone.
As a child grows, their minds constantly receive new information. Especially in the early development stages. Therefore, I suggest that once your child is around 1 years old, speak to them in a normal tone. Baby talk should be limited and the child can be spoken to in clear and precise words. This can prepare your child at a young age to understand and communicate in this normal everyday speech once they begin to speak words on their own.
Tip #2 : Remain Calm.
Every adult comes across challenges. Children are no different. Stressful situations may arise where both the adult and/or child feel either embarrassed, scared, or nervous and the tension rises. In these situations, as the adult, remain calm. Your child, although frustrated, is looking to you for guidance. Speaking to the child in a calmer voice allows them to process and understand what you want from them, rather than fearing being yelled at and embarrassed in front of others (potentially causing the situation to escalate).
Tip #3 : Give the child a time frame.
Depending on their age, they may have some knowledge on the concept of time. If they are still too young, getting them in the habit of recognition is key. At a young age begin stating how long they have until bedtime, or how long they are able to play outside. For example, " Sweaty you have 20 minutes until you brush your teeth and go to bed." This gives them notice and also states what is expected; for them to brush their teeth and to go to bed in that order.You can restate the time in however many increments, 10 minutes works best for my child and I but every relationship is different.
Where do you see the most stressful situations between an adult and a child?
Tip #4 : Verbally state what is expected.
Again, your child looks to you for guidance. Before entering the grocery store or heading into the church for a wedding, state to the child what you expect. If you know they can get rowdy in places with lots of people, explain that while in church you have to be quiet in order to listen. If you are going into the grocery store, explain that they need to use their inside voices and not run around so items are not broken and everyone can enjoy the shopping experience. They may ask why, when given direction, and if so, give them the reason. This helps them to better understand your expectations. The key to this, is to avoid an unwanted situation or argument inside the place you are going into. Ensure this conversation happens in the car or at home and is settled before you enter.
Tip #5 : Stay true to your word.
Be firm but not scary! If you state that the child is not going to get a toy today before you enter Walmart for example and then get him/her a toy anyway; you didn't teach them self control. You must ensure that your child knows and trusts your word. This way the child knows that when you say you only have 10 minutes before bedtime, you really mean 10 minutes. This recognition is key to successful communication with a child
Every relationship is different... Find what type of communication works best for you and your child. Never give up, it's not always easy but when you find a balance it really makes all the difference!