Helping Pre-schoolers Develop Communication Skills
Every parent wants their child to grow up to be a good communicator, and it’s always exciting to hear the first words from your child’s mouth. Communication is an essential skill for adult life, enabling us to express ourselves, form complex social relationships and succeed both academically and in our careers. Preschool is a great place for children to develop communication skills within a safe environment surrounded by their peers, but it is also important to nurture these skills in the home. You may wish to try some of the following recommendations at home, which have proven to be effective at nurturing communication skills.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and it is important that we respect this. Even if you may disagree with something your child has said, you should try to be respectful of their opinion and offer constructive, polite feedback. Many arguments amongst children stem from petty disagreements over topics such as food preferences, and it is important that they are able to respect the differing opinions or preferences of others. In situations like this, it is best to be polite and constructive, and this will help your child learn how to navigate interactions and disagreements with their peers in a respectful manner.
Praise Them for a Job Well Done
When your child has done a great job on a task, you should take a moment to offer them praise. This not only provides an incentive for positive behaviour, it also offers them a chance to express their gratitude and carry on further conversation. When praising your child, try to be direct and clearly specify why you appreciate what they have done for you. This provides an opportunity for self-evaluation whilst also showing them how to communicate positively with their peers when they have done a good job.
Building Language Skills through Dramatic Play
Children love to play. Whether it be a game of hungry caterpillars or I Spy, these activities can also be very beneficial to literacy and communication skills. For example, if your child is engaged in a game of hungry caterpillars, you might ask them about the kinds of food they want to eat. This extends an invitation to your child to name as many food items as they possibly can, and you may also introduce a few foods they’ve never heard of before.
Identify and Respond Positively to Your Child’s Feelings
Children can feel a range of emotions, and parents and guardians should recognise and respond to these positively. It can be difficult to read facial expressions and body language at times, but as your child grows this will become easier. By recognising their emotions, you will be creating a safe and secure environment in which they can discuss their feelings without fear of judgement or criticism. Not only will your child have the opportunity to talk about their own feelings, they will also develop empathy for others and the ability to read non-verbal cues.