Possessing a set of proper oral language skills can be described as an essential life skill in today’s times. Parents should start teaching their kids basic communication skills during the early years and go on to hone their skills as they grow. Assuming that kids may learn suitable communication skills sans parental guidance can be a huge mistake. Parents may wish to coach their kids not only to communicate effectively but also politely.
Why Are Communication Skills Important in Child Development?
Communication skills are important in child development for the following reasons:
- Teaching effective communication skills to children may help them to express themselves clearly and convey their feelings in a better manner.
- Communication skills can facilitate learning and meaningful exchange of information with others.
- Communicating well may boost your child’s social IQ by helping him build sound relationships during his interactions with other people.
- A kid who can properly communicate verbally may be comfortable producing written communications as well which is likely to help him perform better academically.
- Kids with communication problems may develop behavioural disorders like depression, social withdrawal, low self-esteem.
Basic Communication Skills A Child Should Know
Some basic communication skills a child should know can be:
- Children should be able to establish eye contact while talking with the person they are conversing. It is a mark of interest and respect. Looking away during a conversation is an indication of disinterest and constitute bad manners.
- Your kids need to learn to speak properly and clearly. Kids may be trained to speak using correct pronunciation and right grammar. They should be impressed upon not to speak hurriedly.
- Parents may instruct their kids not to interrupt an ongoing conversation and start talking because they feel so. It is essential to check this behaviour and encourage self-control.
- Parents need to model appropriate listening behaviour so that kids may learn to listen attentively and respond aptly.
- Parents may also like to show their children the art of entering a conversation politely and the right way to behave when somebody joins a lively conversation which includes greeting the person with an encouraging smile and nod.
What to Do If Child is Unable to Communicate Effectively?
Some useful tips on how to develop children’s communication skills can be:
- Build an open line of communication where your child can easily approach you and express himself without hesitation.
- Let your child have plenty of time to process what he wishes to say and allow him to finish to prevent the occurrence of stuttering. Refrain from cutting in or interrupting him while he is trying to respond.
- Avoid over-correction and being overcritical while teaching your kid to speak well. It will only discourage him.
- Children usually learn best by imitating their adults. Therefore, it is desirable for parents to present a good speaking model to their kids to help them communicate suitably.
- When communicating with your child ensure you take turns, make proper eye contact and display appreciation for his active participation.
Communication Activities and Games for Kids
Few interesting communication activities and games for kids can be:
1. Play Telephone
This popular and fun game may help enhance good listening skills in kids and can be played by kids of all age groups. You can include other members of the family as well. Have them all sit in a circle close enough to whisper easily. Start with one child who will whisper a message into the ear of the player sitting to the right, who then whispers it into his neighbor’s ears until everyone in the circle have taken a turn. You can start with a simple message and slowly progress to more complex sentences.
2. Pointing Directions
Nonverbal communication activities for kids can include this simple game. Ask your kid to write down directions to his nearby favourite shop or park. Then embark on a journey along with your kid following those written directions to reach the place. On the way, help him understand how can he make it better or things he may mention to communicate better.
3. Show and Tell
Show and tell activity can be a delightful verbal communication game for kids. Give your kid a topic like his favourite fruit, a favourite book or a road trip with family. Have him exhibit an item related to the topic and ask him to speak five lines on it. This activity can assist in furthering your kid’s confidence, vocabulary and eloquence.
4. Picture Storytelling
Picture storytelling can be a very interesting activity as kids love to tell stories. Provide your kid with a set of pictures. Ask him to arrange them in a logical sequence and spin a story from it. Alternatively, you can offer him just one picture and have him describe the things he perceives in the picture like the scenery, people, colors and other details.
This exciting activity may not only promote your kid’s oral language skills but also aid him to get comfortable with public speaking. You can propose various themes ranging from the recitation of a favourite poem to expressing his views on current topics like saving water, recycling, use of gadgets. Ask him to prepare a short presentation to present to a family gathering, local park functions and so on.
Extempore or spontaneous speech forms an important part of oral communication and can be used to expand communication skills. Extempore may support your kid in thinking on his feet and articulating his inventive ideas correctly with accuracy. This activity may suitably prepare him for his future career prospects as well. Make chits on interesting topics and have your kid pick a chit and speak on the chosen topic impromptu for a few minutes.
7. Emotional Charades
This fun activity is great for helping kids understand different facial expressions, signals, body posture when communicating. These are the non-verbal communication cues which complement verbal communication. Hand out a few cards to your kid each card depicting a particular emotion like anger, sad, bored, tired, happy and have him act them out. Your kids can also draw the different emotions he is likely to experience in ordinary situations.
8. 20 Questions
20 questions is a wonderful game which may enable your kid’s ability to formulate and ask direct questions. Ask the kids to stand in a circle with one kid in the centre. The kid in the middle has to think of a famous place or a known personality. Other kids in the group have to identify it by asking a set of 20 questions. The child can respond by saying only yes or no. In case the group fails to guess then the child is declared the winner.
9. Identify the Object
You may require 4 -5 kids for playing this game. Blindfold one of the kids and the rest of the players chose an object which can be described elaborately for easy identification. Every player takes a turn describing one feature of the chosen object. The blindfolded kid may request for additional questions as cues.
10. Changing the Leader
This game can be a great training tool for teaching kids to recognize body language indicators. Choose one kid as the leader who may perform certain actions like stomping his feet or clapping. The others kids have to imitate his actions. The leader may select another kid as the leader by smiling or winking at him. Other kids have to detect the new leader and then replicate his actions.
Parents who communicate more with their kids may be able to help them develop sound communication skills easily. Communication proficiency may not only provide your kid with better comfort in social situations but can also ensure improved performances academically and later in their careers.