As a parent, you know how important developing healthy communication skills is for your child to lead a happy, productive, and fulfilling life. But learning how to speak, listen, and understand in a conversation can be difficult for many children. Fortunately, you can help your child strengthen their communication skills with practice and patience. Here are a few tips to try today.
Answering questions is a good way to ease your child into building conversational and social interaction skills. You can ask them about their day and about school, and it’s not too much pressure for them to describe a few highlights of their day. But it’s better to ask open-ended questions to encourage your child to explain more. If you ask a yes or no question like “Did you have a good day at school?” then your child will only have to give a one word answer. Think of something specific to ask them that will encourage them to tell a story. For example, you could ask about a specific event like “How did your project go today?”
It’s already a good idea for your child to read whenever they can. But you can also take the opportunity to build their communication skills by having them read out loud. You can read one chapter of a book together each night, or throughout the day you can encourage your child to read aloud different words you see such as on road signs. Practicing reading not only helps your child get used to talking but it teaches them grammar and sentence structure.
Ultimately, you want your child to feel comfortable communicating with their peers as well as learn appropriate interactions with other adults. But many large social settings can be intimidating and stressful. It’s good to help your child work their way up to different levels of social interaction by starting with their habits. Limit the amount of television they watch, because it is a very passive activity. Instead, encourage them to find entertainment in playing board games, playing with their siblings, or going outside. When the time comes, you can push them a little bit outside of their comfort zone by having them try out group activities at school.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (202) 561-1110 (Washington, D.C. office) or (301) 577-4333 (Lanham office). Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.