There are a lot of children, and adults that find communication difficult - especially small talk.
Some think they’re not very good at it or do not know how to express themselves.
Some are shy.
A lot of people pick up on social cues and follow what other people are saying, but this in itself is a very difficult thing to master.
Some people, including children, really do struggle with talking to other people.
They may have a specific communication problem which might need more professional help. See the page communication disorder.
Social Skills Challenges
Social skills plays a big part in having conversations with others. It relies on an understanding of how others feel, tone of voice and body language.
There are unspoken social rules when talking to other people. You need to know when to stop talking, when to tell a joke, when to speak in a quiet voice or a loud voice, what might be an inappropriate question and not to hog the conversation.
Most children have a lot of trouble with social skills at first, but for some children they might not develop the tools they need to have successful conversations
People sometimes think that impulsivity is about physical action. But it can also impact how kids interact with others and participate in conversation.
They might be so excited about the topic or an idea they want to share that they don’t wait their turn to talk. Or they say what pops into their mind without thinking about how others may react. Learn more about impulsivity in kids.
No matter what’s causing it, trouble making conversation can have a big impact on a child’s self-esteem. It can also make it hard to fit in and make friends. And it can make kids targets for bullying.
There are many ways to help kids improve conversation skills. If your child is struggling, knowing why lets you find the best ways to help.
The importance of Talking
Communication is a crucial way to ensure you form an ongoing relationship with your child. There are many benefits to regularly sharing your thoughts and ideas with your children, and giving them an opportunity to voice their opinions. Here are just a few:
Improving their verbal competency Speaking to your child regularly will ensure that they are continually absorbing a wealth of language, and parental modelling may mean that they improve their grasp of sentence structures. If children regularly express their views to their parents, this can translate to a better ability to present their ideas.
Enhancing emotional literacy Children who are unable to express how they feel at any given time may become frustrated, and lash out in other ways. If children can match their emotions to words and express them clearly to adults and children alike they will be more likely to resolve their problems through discussion.
Understanding your child Talking to your children so that they can share their hopes, dreams and fears will mean that you gain a more in-depth understanding of your child. Though many parents lead busy lives, carving out a small amount of time to talk with children will mean that they feel heard and valued.
Understanding instructions Children are continually being given instructions both at home and if school, if they attend school, which can be overwhelming at times. Communicating short, direct instructions at regular intervals may be easier for children to digest, while regular communication will mean that children can query anything they don't understand.
Your little bundle of joy is growing fast. They are learning a lot about the world around them.
There is still so much you can do to help. They still need to learn through play and having fun. They still need encouragement and support from the adults that are important to them.
OK, so what can you do to help?
Work with their interest. Some children like cars, some like cooking or pretend play, some children like drawing and writing, some children like making things --- and the list goes on.
Show interest in their interest.
How can I help with their work?
You can support their learning by
Showing an interest in the topic and discussing it with them.
Finding books to read together about the subject they are learning or just reading for fun.
Helping them research a topic.
Finding out about the topic yourself so you know how to answer the questions when they're asked.
Answer the endless questions.
Ask them what their dream was about last night.
Ask them what they would like to do or have for dinner etc.
But to do all of this you have to talk...
YOU ARE STILL YOUR CHILD'S BEST TEACHER.