Research shows that children who can communicate effectively are more self-confident, have high self-esteem and be happier than people who struggle to communicate.
Use these five tips to improve Conversation skills.
1. Be a Good Conversation Role Model
Children learn from watching the adults around them, so it is no surprise that this also applies to learning how to have a conversation. Demonstrate good conversation habits like listening, showing empathy and asking questions. Don't forget that it is also good to model how to start and end a conversation.
2. Be Present
A conversation can happen anywhere, and it doesn't have to be a formal sit-down face to face affair. It can happen alongside another activity, for example, cooking, doing crafts, or travelling in the car.
Even though you may be engaged in another task, this could be a great time to talk. The critical thing to remember here is to be present and tuned into the conversation. If you are rushing to cook dinner, answer emails, and load the washing machine, this is probably not the time to start a conversation.
Be present, stay engaged, listen and ask great questions (see next tip)
3. Ask a different Question
Conversations can get stuck in a rut; we ask the same question repeatedly and usually get the same response. Hands up how many times you have asked your child, "How was school today?” and got a one-word answer in response!
Well, a very simple tip is to ask a different question. Here are a couple of examples –
Would you rather be a grown-up or a child?
If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
If you owned a shop, what would you sell?
What’s your earliest memory?
Remember, this is a conversation, so take time to listen to the answer and respond with questions that keep the conversation going.
4. Give Children the Time to Answer
Making time for children to answer a question is especially important in group situations where the conversation can be fast-paced, and the subject can jump around a lot. It is ok to circle back and give your child time and space to answer.
5. Practice is the key
Being a great communicator is not a gift bestowed upon children at birth; it is a skill they learn! So the more your child sees you modelling good conversation skills and the more opportunity they get to practise conversation, the more proficient they become.
Tools and resources to help children practice conversation skills: