Communication skills kids can learn

Metro Service
Starting conversations can encourage children to speak up about their thoughts and feelings.

■ Metro Service

An ability to communicate effectively is a life skill that can serve a person well at any age. Communicating well is considered so essential that the Boy Scouts of America even require prospective Eagle Scouts to earn communication merit badges.
It’s never too early to help children become better communicators. From toddlerhood to grade school and beyond, learning how to interact with others are necessary at every stage.
Developing communication takes time, but there are various techniques to help kids become better communicators.

• Great communication is a two-way process. Listening is often as important as speaking when communicating. Parents can help model good behavior by listening and letting children express themselves before offering their own opinions.
• Take turns in conversation. Rather than speaking at the same time or interrupting others, effective communicators take turns offering their thoughts. Listening to others can help shape what the other person might say.
• Speak regularly with one another. Initiate conversation frequently so that children become accustomed to speaking with adults and others. Chat about where you’re going when running errands or discuss television plots during commercial breaks.
• Make conversations relevant. Allow experiences that are happening around the family to shape conversations. Encourage curiosity and introduce new themes and vocabulary. The more the child gets to experience, the more inclined he or she may be to discuss those experiences.
• Modify communication methods. Some children may struggle to communicate effectively. By working with speech/language pathologists and making the most of digital and other communication aids, parents make things easier for kids who are struggling to communicate.
• Ask for details. The organization advises adults to focus on recall and sequencing when speaking with children. These skills are important and can be enhanced when kids offer details. These techniques can help children ultimately develop strong comprehension and writing skills.
• Speak with others. Encourage children to speak to their peers, adults and educators as much as possible to establish comfort in various communication settings. Doing so will help in the short- and long-term.

Communicating is an important component of school, home life and future employment. Children who learn to communicate effectively are in position to thrive in school and later in life.

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