The best parent-child relationships are those with a strong sense of connection. The greatest way to establish contact and teach the young ones is through proper communication. It is important that parents learn how to best commune with their children in order for them to get the right message across, and avoid any misunderstanding. This is usually done through positive interaction with each other. An effective way of communicating is an interaction that can relate to the interest of the child at a particular age.
Below are some guidelines in communicating with children of different ages:
- INFANTS (Birth to 12 months)
Infants are hard to understand as they communicate in loud cries, coos and gurgles that sounds very foreign to adults.
- Be quick to respond to any form of communication from an infant – especially when they are crying.
- Give meaning to their cries, coos or gurgles by verbally telling them what you understand (“I know you are crying because you are hungry.)
- Let them know that you are conversing with them. Exaggerate facial expressions and use a high pitch voice so they will understand that you are interacting.
- Know that your infant is fascinated by the sound of your voice and the look on your face. Try to interact as often as possible.
- TODDLERS (12 to 36 months)
A slight improvement, toddlers develop the ability to understand and interact effectively. There messages now come in one or two words though they still have the tendency to slip into gurgles and simple gestures.
- Complete their words into sentences.
- Learn to discern what the grunts and gestures mean.
- Define emotions that they feel so they will begin to use and understand word associations. It also helps to describe daily actions and tasks as they are happening.
- Start to reason with them and answer the question WHY for every new action that needs to be explained.
- PRE-SCHOOLERS (3 to 6 years)
Pre-schoolers are more adept in putting their thoughts into coherent and grammatically correct sentences. They know how to tell stories based on their own experiences.
- Encourage your pre-schooler to share with you stories of what went on during their day. This should include activities and emotions encountered throughout the day.
- Help them associate verbal and written words. Label ordinary things that they can identify.
- Design ways to allow them to engage in activities that will stimulate their imagination and let them create fantasy worlds. Be very careful to point out what is reality and what is not.
- SCHOOL-AGE (6 to 12 years)
School age children oftentimes talk in the same manner as adults. They are beginning to understand and crave independence.
- Show genuine interest in what transpired during their day away from your presence.
- Lead them in instances that will develop their ability to set goals, understand consequences and deal with their own problems.
- Continue to encourage your children to communicate their feelings and help them understand the emotions and actions that generate from these.
- Be calm and reasonable when correcting your child. It is vital that you make them understand what went wrong with their actions.
All throughout the communication process, parents should guide their children in understanding the emotions and changes that happen around them. With proper steering, children can grow up to be well-mannered adults who know the value of proper interaction with those around them.