Learning ability varies from person to person, but humans all possess the capability to form and convey complex thoughts and ideas. Our individuality then takes form in our method of communication, influencing how we navigate our lives for the long term.
It is therefore an important duty for parents to help children develop good communication skills and habits. The first eight years of a child’s life involve several critical biological developments including communication, and promoting it lays the foundation of how they will relate to other people and the world around them going forward.
Below are a few important basics for building a solid communication foundation for your child.
Babies crying is already a form of communication - it’s raw and straightforward, sure but it’s communication nevertheless. As time goes on, these sounds become varied and more distinct like laughs, gestures, and quizzical vocalizations to let you know how they are currently feeling.
Responding to your child’s communications is a critical step in making them aware that the process is two-way. It lets them know the significance of answering, that their calls are a way to catch your attention and understanding. If their noises are ignored, the child may resort to other, less ideal means of attracting attention.
Use Non-Verbal Communication
At one year old, toddlers start to understand non-verbal communication as a way to interact with the people around them. Waving, pointing, and reaching might be part of adorable baby behavior, but all of these are efforts at interaction which should be encouraged constantly to open up your child’s communication skills. Gestures also serve as effective means to convey the meaning of words and phrases, like waving goodbye or asking for the baby bottle.
Think of this activity as telling a story that’s not limited to bedtime habits. Young children can grasp actions quickly if people around them provide words to associate them with. This is especially important for kids who show signs of struggling with speech, as it encourages them to imitate actions along with the words. Narrating actions might not be a catch-all solution for all kids, but it’s a technique worth trying regardless.
For parents who have children with speech problems or autism, our award winning online speech development system offers autism speech therapy activities to help kids develop and improve communication skills. Contact us now to learn more about our programs and tools to enhance children’s conversation and language abilities.