How to Promote Dialogue with Young Children
When children reach adolescence, most parents want them to make them part of their lives, to share their experiences, dreams, and anecdotes. However, for this to happen, a good communicative dynamic must be established from childhood. We can’t expect children who’ve never been listened to become open and expressive young people. Therefore, we want to show you some tips to promote dialogue with children when they’re still young.
This isn’t an easy task, as infants don’t always manage their communication skills well and may have very restricted interests that are different from ours. In addition, parents don’t always have enough time.
So, when your child starts talking to you about a new movie while you try to get to your appointment on time, try to make an effort to build those communication bridges with them.
Why is it important to promote dialogue with young children?
It may seem like talking to your child during infancy isn’t very critical. After all, it’s after puberty that they’ll probably need the most advice and guidance. But you’re wrong, because the first years of life are fundamental to this aspect.
Encouraging dialogue with young children helps them develop language, improve their social skills, and strengthen their self-esteem. By talking to you often, they not only learn new words and expressions, but they also learn to respect their turn and to function in a conversation. But above all, they grow up with the certainty of feeling valued and valuable to their elders.
Your time and your attention are, for them, the best proof that they’re interesting, valid people with a lot to contribute.
These early learnings help your child to be successful later on many levels. That’s because charisma, self-confidence, assertiveness, and other communication skills are essential in the school, work and social environment.
Learn to promote dialogue with your young children
If you’ve found that you’re not listening to your child properly or aren’t communicating enough with them, the following guidelines can help you reverse this situation.
Dialogue isn’t synonymous with interrogation
Parents often turn to their children with the sole intention of knowing their day to day. How did school go, what grades did they get, what did they do that afternoon, how did they get along with their classmates, etc. It’s normal to be interested in these aspects, but if we focus the conversation on this type of questioning, it’s likely that children will get bored and shut down.
It’s much more positive to show a genuine interest in talking in order to get to know each other better and to strengthen the bond between the two. So, don’t just ask them questions or give them lectures. Start listening to them and sharing the back and forth with them.
Give them enough time
To talk with your child, you don’t need to look for special moments intended solely for that purpose. In this sense, everyday situations are ideal for spontaneous conversations that help to produce trust and complicity.
While you prepare dinner, when you’re in the car on the way to school, in the supermarket, or for a walk down the street. The more time you spend with your child, the easier it will be to find opportunities to talk.
Take an interest in their tastes and hobbies
Following the first point, if you want to improve communication with your child, approach them through their tastes and interests. Perhaps when the child talks to you, fascinated, about dinosaurs, planets, or a new cartoon series on TV, you won’t feel any special interest. But this is a perfect door to talk about a topic and strengthen your bond.
Pay attention to them when they talk to you about what motivates them, try to share those hobbies with them, and ask them questions so that they can talk more in depth. This way, not only will they feel heard, but the conversation will be so pleasant for them that they’ll want to repeat it.
Encourage everyday conversations
On your part, you can also promote those moments of exchange with your own proposals. Lunch and dinner times are ideal for a family chat about everyday and trivial matters. For example, to remember the trip you made last week, to anticipate the football game next weekend, or to comment on the last movie you saw together.
In these seemingly banal conversations, a beneficial habit of sharing impressions and opinions between parents and children can be developed.
Make them a part of your day to day
Just as you enjoy participating in your child’s life and knowing their day to day, they also feel important and valued when you include them in your experiences.
Go ahead and explain how your day has gone, ask for an opinion on any decision you have to make, or tell them how you’ve spent time with your friends. If your child sees that you trust them, they’ll do the same with you.
Practice active listening; don’t judge or invalidate
Lastly, pay attention to your attitude and your reactions when talking to your child.
First of all, make sure they perceive that you’re paying attention to them. To do this, get at their height, look them in the eye, and remove other distractions, such as your cell phone.
At the same time, before judging them, criticizing what they tell you, or correcting your child’s behavior, simply listen to them. Pay attention to the narrative, be interested in their emotions, their motives, and their opinions. Don’t downplay their problems and instead, offer understanding and guidance.
When you promote dialogue in young children, you invest in the future
As we discussed at the beginning, promoting dialogue with young children is the best way to ensure that this communication continues into adolescence. If you want your children to trust you, come to you, and consider you a reference in the face of any setback, start today to put the above recommendations into practice.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Laporte, D. (2006). Autoimagen, autoestima y socialización: guía práctica con niños de 0 a 6 años (Vol. 58). Narcea Ediciones.
- Dockrell, J., Law, J., Mathers, S., Forrest, C., & Charlton, J. (2020). Talking With Your Children: Activities For Parents to Help Nursery Children’s Speaking and Listening Skills. Recuperado de: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10111307/1/Forrest_%27Talking%20Time%27%20Booklet%20for%20Parents.pdf