Simple ways parents can enhance their child’s communication skills
In this tech savvy world that we live in to manage family and work life, it is important for parents that it could be detrimental to their child’s ability to learn. We want to share with you an article by HealthyChildren.org which gives parents three ways of enhancing the communication skills of their child.
- Play Non-Electronic Games: Games such as peekaboo, pat-a-cake, and Itsy Bitsy Spider actually serve an important purpose: they promote face-to-face interaction, teach turn-taking, and reinforce essential parts of bonding and conversation. Activities like blowing kisses, waving bye-bye, and clapping all help a child build social interaction and conversation skills. These games all require free hands—for both children and parents!
- Share a Common Focus: Reading a book together, share a toy, look at the same dog in a park. An important social skill, allowing a child to share an experience with another person and see someone else’s point of view. Sharing focus lets a child know you are interested in what they say or do. When parents are on their cell phones, they are not fully focused on the same points of attention as their child and miss key opportunities to build this skill.
- Send and Receive Nonverbal Messages: Speaking and understanding words are just part of the communication puzzle. Non-verbal signals such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, and body language provide additional information. A child is able to recognize emotions and understand the intent of a message. When a parent is using a smartphone, these nonverbal cues are often reduced or eliminated completely. As a result, children miss out on receiving important nonverbal signals from their parents (part of learning to communicate). Parents may also miss information their kids are trying to send them through pointing, gesturing, staring, etc.
Children are constantly learning communication and social skills through listening, talking, reading, singing, and playing with their parents—interactions lost while you are on a smartphone. For encouragement at the dinner table check out our Let’s Eat Together Placemat. This is a simple tool which can help provide families with the perfect opportunity to communicate and bond with one another and at the same time encourages a screen-free time.