There are so many different ways how to improve communication skills for kids. Read along for tips and strategies on how to encourage children's communication skills and how you can start with a qualified Speech and Language Therapist.
How do you improve communication skills in children?
There are a multitude of ways to improve communication skills in children. Some fundamentals include letting them share their ideas, showing them that you are actively listening to them, and helping them use words to express their intense emotions. Modeling body language for them so they can use body language to support their own communication, reading with them, and using interactive play consistently is included in how to encourage children's communication skills.
Remember to focus on your child’s interests, as this is what can drive the motivation of the child who is working on their communication skills. Also, show your child that you have noticed their positive progress by praising them with specific and immediate feedback. For example, “you did a great job putting those words together to ask for help!”
What are the 5 ways to improve your communication skills?
Telling pictures through stories: have your child tell a story based on pictures, and put parts of the story in order. You can find more resources for storytelling for free, in noala.
Encourage your child to tell you what they are doing: from mealtime to when you are doing an outdoor activity with them. Ask them to explain step-by-step what they are doing as they are doing it.
Let your child initiate/guide the conversation: ask them follow-up questions and expand on what they told you.
Role-playing with your child: You both can take different roles. You can take the role of bus driver or teacher and they can be the student - this can help them speak up/communicate with different people.
Body language modeling: Non-verbal communication is communication. As they say, 90% of communication is body language! Show your child how you face them to show attention; or gesture to an object when you want something.
Communication skills for kids range from using and sustaining attention with others and specific tasks. Here are some communication skills:
Receptive language (understanding others)
Expressive language (expressing themselves)
Using different types of play (graduating from playing by oneself to using play with others, and using objects in a symbolic and functional way)
Showing active listening to their communication partners through body language and words
Using social communication to interact directly with other children and adults
What are the 12 ways to improve your communication?
To improve your communication with your child as a parent, make sure to do the following 12 simple things:
Speak slowly and clearly to model a good clear rate of speech.
Show them that you WANT to understand their feelings by helping them label their feelings using words when showing intense feelings through “tantrums” for example.
Speak to your child as if you’re observing them. Speak your observations of what they are doing into words. For example, “I see” or “I’m noticing” are helpful tools.
Always play back what your child has said and add words to it to make it more descriptive.
Show your child that you are listening to them by nodding, making eye contact, and making statements that recognize what they just tried to explain.
Always talk through things that YOU are doing with your child as you are doing it. This can include during play, in the car, during meal time, etc.
Always read with your child so you both can talk about what you are noticing, take turns! Discuss pictures and how they relate to different elements of the story.
Use a mirror to help your child become more aware of their articulators (tongue, teeth, lips, and jaw). This can help them see how you produce difficult sounds.
Always start conversations with your child and be direct and SPECIFIC. Instead of “How was school”, ask them “What did you do in the school library today?”
Play your child’s favorite game and encourage a back-and-forth. You may start the conversation, but let them tell you about the game/how to play the game.
Always make sure that you are at eye level with your child so that you can interact most effectively and increase attention.
Make sure that you’re in an environment that is comfortable for them to communicate with you. Free of distractions such as loud noises, overstimulating lights, or too many people. Make sure that tech devices (television, radio, iPad) are off during structured communication exchanges.
Improving communication skills for your child can range from modeling body language to adding to what your child is saying. Ask specific questions and be specific in your feedback. While there are so many communication opportunities and strategies to optimize your child’s communication, always remember to set aside the time to try out strategies.
You will learn along the way what your child needs from you to enhance and develop their communication skills. While learning which strategies and interests will be most suitable for them. You may need to partner with a speech and language therapist when communication delays exist, but while you are with your child, always keep the communication going!