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The gift of gab is an important skill to have in today’s world. Many talented persons have faded into oblivion for the lack of conversation skills, and not being able to make themselves heard. This article tells you how to teach your little one to converse effectively, how to listen and put across her point in an assertive manner, so that she can grow into a confident and vocal individual.
As your little one grows up, conversations become an important part of her life. As a parent or caregiver, you probably would have already communicated with your toddler through signs and gestures. However, now is the time to instil in her some conversation skills, because the importance of language cannot be undermined.
Follow these simple tips to keep those words coming and conversations flowing
Talk about Relevant Things
Talk with your toddler about things which matter to her. Involve yourself in her activities. For instance, ask her about the tower she just built, how she was able to build it so high. Your little one understands the appreciative tone in your voice and in the process would have grasped the concept of high and low. Encourage her to respond to you. Nod to her replies and ask questions. This will teach your little one that conversation is always a two-way channel.
Encourage your Toddler to Listen
Right from the time your little one utters her first word, she needs to understand the importance of listening. Do this by telling her stories and asking questions in the middle. For example, if you are telling her the story of a monkey that stole a yellow cap, you could ask, “What coloured cap did the monkey steal?” Your toddler would love to answer the questions. Once she answers your question right, show your appreciation through a hug or a cuddle.
Use Non-verbal Cues
Interpreting non-verbal cues forms an important part of understanding a language. When you are reading stories to your little one, point out to the illustrations in the book and ask her questions about the expressions on the faces of the characters. For example, “How do you think the fairy might be feeling now? Why do you think she’s crying?”
Use Lots of Questions
Questions are fun and invigorating. They make your little one feel important. Keep asking questions. However, don’t restrict your questions to the ones which would have simple answers like “Yes” or “No”. Ask questions which would spark conversations with your little one. For instance, try “Why don’t you ask that little girl out there what she’s making in the sand? If you want, you could ask to join her too,” instead of, “Do you want to make castles in the sand?”
Paying attention to development milestones helps in understanding the progress your little one is making. At eighteen months of age, your little one must be able to exhibit elementary interaction skills and briefly respond to parents’ comments. By thirty six months, she should be able to speak in 2-4 word sentences with caregivers or parents, and understand the names of her body parts, family members and familiar objects. If your little is not making progress along these lines, meet a speech-language pathologist for complete evaluation of the problem. Many times early detection helps to take an effective remedial action.
Finally, enjoy the conversations with your little one. Every day and every moment, make her feel how important these conversations are for you as they are for her. Take pride in her as she says her first big sentence, and listen with joy as she holds little meaningful conversations with her peers. Record her first major conversation and preserve it for life. When she grows up, she’s going to thank you for that!