Communication is an art many children struggle with. It can be marginally attributed to the increasing use of smartphones – a friend and a foe to the children at their prime learning stage.

Before beginning, you need to know what your child essentially lacks. Do they not speak? Do they follow your commands or not? Depending on which aspect they lack, you need to train them accordingly.

A research and education program conducted by The Hanen Centre categorizes child’s communication skills in four different levels and strategies that need to be devised after assessing the stage your child currently belongs to.

Communication skills in the early years of life play a major role in the future developments of your kid and their confidence level. Let’s take a deeper look at each level of communication grade and what could be done to enhance the skills of your child.

The Own Agenda Stage

Verbal communication starts to take shape much later than the understanding phase. This is the most primitive stage of communication and your child is more likely to interact very briefly with you and almost negligible to strangers.

The best way to help, as a parent, at this stage is to have as many playful interactions with your kid as possible. Initiate situations where they have to choose and point out. Their interaction will mainly involve body gestures, reactions like crying or screaming in protest, and eye movements.

The Requester Stage

This is the stage they will start getting comfortable with you and emotions begin to flow profoundly. They will start realising the need for things and ask you for it.

Your job, as a parent, is to direct their activities. Your facial expressions will start reflecting on theirs so make sure you smile, frown, and laugh so they understand you. The key to communication is not getting the word out of the mouth but making them understand everything.

Start replacing all their gestures with sounds and words. When they say it, give them what they are asking for. Start reading them stories and observe their reactions to different words or make your facial expressions visible. They will start reciprocating when you put an effort.

The Early Communicator Stage

This is an enhancement of the previous stage. The communication skills will significantly start developing now. The best way is to encourage them to take part in activities by themselves.

Teach them to greet you in the morning and make sure you don’t forget. Greet others in front of them so that they start learning from you.

The Partner Stage

The first three stages were all about your child learning from the environment that you had created for them. Everything they have learned so far, from you, the TV, the surroundings will start reflecting in their speech and actions.

This is where real interactions will begin and most of the strategies you want to use to improve their communication will be implemented right about when they have reached this level.

Now that you have seen the progress in different levels of communication among children, you need to start devising strategies to help them get better after assessing their stage.

Comment More and Question Less

Research has proven that children respond less to questions and more to awe-striking comments made by parents to initiate a conversation. For example, instead of questioning like, “What is that?”, exclaim in an excited voice, “Wow, look at those beautiful stars.” You will see them showing increased participation in the latter scenario.

Limit The Technology

Children learn a lot from TV and Smartphones. Essentially, cartoons are an important element to build their character and communication skills. Don’t quit it completely, but keep it restricted to a permissible limit.

However, present-day use of smartphones in children has seen a trend in declining motor skills and reduced problem-solving abilities. A recent study shows a smartphone within reach can reduce cognitive abilities in kids and adults alike.

Give Them Time To Answer

When you ask them a question, don’t just jump to answering them yourself instantly. Give them ample time to understand the question, frame an answer to respond to it. Count to 10 before proceeding and you will be surprised by the results.

Present Them With Problem Solving Situations

Create situations that would persuade them to come up with a solution. For example, get them interested in an activity like wrapping up a gift. Keep a larger sized gift on a small wrapper and comment on it in an open-ended questioning style like “Oh, this won’t work, what shall we do now?”

This will motivate them to think in a strategic direction and contribute to providing solutions.

In this technological era, your children need your time the most. Make enough time to interact and play with them. Don’t force them too much. Everyone takes their own time to get comfortable and you can only act as a catalyst in helping them.