Communication: Creating Little Conversationalists

Nov 18, 2015
Communication: Creating Little Conversationalists

Communication Begins at Birth

The task of learning to communicate is supported by meaningful conversations between adults and children.

Related: Conversations with Kids

A child’s ability to communicate and speak with others begins at birth. Babies learn the language as they interact with responsive parents and caregivers, and their ability to communicate continues to grow exponentially in the first years of life. Research tells us that the development of oral language affects a child’s ability to learn to read and write. We need to help our children become great conversationalists – people who communicate well with others!

So how do we do that? By talking with them – and in doing so, teaching them about new things and introducing new words as you speak.

Conversation Tips

Here are some tips for having meaningful conversations with children:

  • Get on the child’s level so you can make eye contact easily.
  • Listen to what the child says.
  • Restate what they said and ask an open-ended question – one that can’t be answered with just one word
  • Give children plenty of time to think about their answer – this encourages them to keep talking!
  • Aim for back-and-forth conversations of 4 or more turns.

We all, especially children, feel affirmed when the person we’re talking to is interested in what we’re saying and demonstrates it by listening and responding to what we’ve said.  So find time in your day to engage in some meaningful conversations with kids – you’ll learn lots of new things too!

Listening and responding to children – this is how we support their language development.

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