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Learning to talk is a significant milestone most toddlers cross between the ages of one and three. Talking and listening to your toddler is an important facet of good parenting during this period. It is the key to bonding, building self-esteem and establishing an open parent-child relationship.
Parents are often flummoxed by talkative toddlers and their curiosity about everything they see. The solution to this problem is realizing the importance of listening rather than talking. Being a good listener encourages toddlers to talk with you. Don’t worry even if you are not good at communicating with your child for things will improve with practice. Good parenting is not only about talking. It involves:
- Encouraging your children to talk to you. It will help you understand how they feel and relate to people, things and situations
- Listening to your child when he is angry, scared or confused. It is not limited to only appreciating the good and lauding achievements
How to be a Good Listener
- Set aside a time for listening to your child.
- Listen to a child without judging as and when he narrates, both good and bad things.
- Be open to listening about feelings of fear, anger, frustration, jealousy, etc.
- Do not hear only the words, also pay attention to non-verbal cues, facial expressions and gestures.
- If you are busy, then stop and look at your child and listen.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Let your child finish talking before you speak.
- Do not jump in or finish sentences for your child.
How to Help a Toddler Open Up
- Use simple sentences that are easy for your toddler to understand. Most of the times, parents talk without thinking if their child is able to comprehend the meaning of what is being said.
- Be open to talking about negative emotions. This will help children to open up on things like fear or insecurity.
- Exhibit interest in what is being said. Use phrases like ‘Tell me more’ and ‘Go on …’ to encourage your child.
- Ask children about how they feel regarding what they are talking about- “Does this make you happy?” “Are you sad because this happened?”
- Provide lots of encouragement and positive feedback.
- Keep things positive no matter what.
Advantages of Positive Communication
There will be times when you will not be pleased about what your child is saying. Feeling swamped by how much your child talks is natural if you have a talkative toddler on hand. At such times, the challenge is how to keep things positive. It is easy if you understand the advantages of positive communication. Talking and listening to your toddler lay the foundation for a solid parent-child relationship for the future. It helps children in developing the confidence to express their feelings, to relate to the world and to nurture honesty.
Talking and listening skills are essential for successful problem-solving and conflict resolution. Realizing the importance of communication with your child is an essential aspect of good parenting. Talking and listening help in building vocabulary in kids. Do not despair the next time you feel overwhelmed by a talkative toddler. Practice these tips and seek constructive and positive results.