Communicating with young children

17 Jan 2020

Communicating with young children

Communicating positively with young children helps them develop
confidence, feelings of selfworth, and good relationships with others.
Modeling appropriate behavior is one of the best ways to get desired
behavior from a child. Positive communication leads to nurturing
relationships, cooperation, and feelings of worth.

Important points to consider while communicating with children:

  • Get the child’s attention before speaking.
    (Example: “Sarah.”
    Wait until the child stops playing with the doll and looks at you.)
    Communicate at the child’s level. Adults need to stoop down to the
    child’s level or sit beside her.
  • Eliminate distractions and make & maintain eye contact.
    example, If a parent is reading a newspaper or watching television and
    the child wants to speak to you, kindly keep the paper aside or switch
    the television off and pay attention to what the child is saying.
  • Make requests simple.
    Too many requests are confusing for a young
    child to remember. Make sure that your requests are short, clear and
    one at a time. For example, Rather than saying the child “clean your
    room” one can say “keep the books in the rack” then “put the toys in the
  • Keep lines of communication open by listening attentively when the child talks to you.
    the child to talk to you. However, if you are busy, do not pretend to
    listen. Tell the child, “I’m busy now, but we will talk about it later.”
    Be sure to follow through with the child.
  • Use kind positive words and actions to encourage and support the child.
    example: When the child meets with toilet accident one can always say
    “Rahul for now it is alright, next time when you want to pee or poop
    please ask mummy to take you to take you to the washroom”
  • Ask the right questions.
    Open-ended questions that begin with
    the words “what,” “where,” “whom,” or “how” are often very useful in
    getting children to open up. Parents should try to avoid asking
    questions that require only a yes or no answer.
  • Express your own feelings and ideas when communicating with children & admit it when you don’t know something.

    For example: “if the child wants to know what is lady finger known as
    in English and parent doesn’t knows it day “I am sorry dear, I am
    unaware about this. But I will find out and let you know by tomorrow.”
  • Regularly schedule family meetings or times to talk.
    example, families can use the dinner hour each night as a time to catch
    up with each other. Or, parents can set aside time to play communication
    games, such as picking specific topics of discussion and giving
    everyone in the family a chance to express their opinions.

  • Try to make explanations complete.
    For example: when the child wants
    to know about what a sanitary napkins? Rather than asking the child to
    keep quiet and stop asking, one can always say “It is mummy’s diaper”
    and stop the conversation there.

Parents who communicate effectively with their children are more
likely to have children who are willing to do what they are told. Such
children know what to expect from their parents, and once children know
what is expected of them, they are more likely to live up to these
expectations. They are also more likely to feel secure in their position
in the family, and are thus more likely to be cooperative.