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Parent Communication | Speaking With Your Toddler

April 3rd, 2010 - Category: Communication

We’ve discussed some basics about how to effectively communicate with our children in the previous post. Now, we would like to dive in a little deeper and look at how communication works between parent and children and different stages of life.

We communicate differently depending on the stage of life or current circumstances we’re placed under. Likewise, children of different age groups communicate differently. In order to understand how we as parents can effectively communicate with our children we need to understand how communication works at the different stages of life. In this post, we will talk about toddler-parent communication. How can we effectively talk with and listen to our 2-5 year old.

Read to Your Toddler

Whether or not your child has learned to speak, it is never a bad idea to take 10 minutes before bedtime to read with them. By reading to them, they get used to hearing spoken language in complete and grammatically correct sentences and paragraphs. They are able to hear words and phrases repeatedly the way they are supposed to sound and in the right context. This will not only do wonders in helping your child learn to speak faster, but it will also create a relationship between you and your young child. He/she will become familiar with your voice and it will be of comfort to them. This can aid in helping the child be more comfortable speaking with you once he/she does finally learn to speak.

Talk With Your Toddler

From birth, it is essential that you talk to your child. Talk with them about everything. Share your day with them, tell them your plans for tomorrow and how they fit in to your plans. Tell them what they will be doing and where they will be going. Play games with them and have imaginary outings with them. Have a tea party or play house with them and tell them what their roles are. You can even speak for them when you ask them questions. This helps the child be engaged in two-way conversations early on and will aid them in effectively communicating with you vocally in the future.

Recognize Non-Verbal Signals

Before children can speak, they will try to communicate with you in order to get your attention about something they need or want. Their are a number of non-verbal signs or signals that you can look for when trying to understand what your child is trying to communicate to you. Some of these might include: crying, grimacing, somber or blank facial expressions, stiffening muscles, a tightfisted grasp that doesn’t release, an arched back that pulls away, averting eyes, and turning away. Some babies give clear signals that are easy to read. Others require a closer look. A subtle shift in facial expressions or turning away of the head may signal anxiety that will soon build to a cry.

It’s important for parents to pay attention to each of these expressions and what they mean to the child. In this way, you will know how to respond to them when the expression comes out again.

Encouraging and Correcting Your Toddler

Children usually begin to start saying words from ages 1.5 to 2 years old. However, most often, they will begin by saying words that might slightly resemble the word they are trying to say but couldn’t be made out by someone that wasn’t around them everyday. Words like “wa wa,” “da da” and “mum” may come out of your child’s mouth often. When you hear a word come out that is wrong but you understand what the toddler is trying to say, say, “yes, that’s right, WATER.” You encourage your child for trying to speak and then restate the correct way to say the word.

Make Eye Contact With Your Toddler

Just as eye contact is important with grown up conversations, it is equally important with parent-toddler communication. Look your child in the eye when you are speaking with them. This lets them know they have your undivided attention and they feel like they are of importance to you.

What are other ways in which you communicate with your toddler. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Also, if you have not, please subscribe to the Parenting Tips Blog for frequent articles on parenting.

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2 Comments

  1. Amber Smith says:

    Wow, I’m sure glad I found this post. I’ve never thought to look for the non-verbal signs before. She does give them but I guess they went right over my head. Great article :)

  2. Joe says:

    Thanks Amber. Glad you liked it. Yeah, non-verbal signs are definitely key. It’s always fun to try and figure out what’s going through their mind especially before they can speak.

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