Creating Confidence

Mon, 26 Apr, 2021

Communication Skills in Kids

communication skills in children


Communication is the ability and desire to connect with others by exchanging ideas and feelings, both verbally and non-verbally. That being said, our children exist in a world that’s in a communication crisis. Astounding amounts of time are spent on electronic devices, and we are losing the skills to communicate. But, communication skill is an essential life skill and your child needs it to not only be successful academically but in all aspects of their adult life.

What are the basic communication skills every child should know?

Communication is of two types: Verbal communication and non-verbal communication:

Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is using words or speech to exchange ideas and information with others and includes the following fundamentals of communication:

  • Conversations Skills

    It’s important to know how to have a productive conversation. Parents can teach this skill through puppets or role-playing. Another excellent method is video modelling, where actors model conversation skills with examples.
  • Empathy

    It’s essential for children to develop empathy and be sensitive to other people’s feelings and thinking. When they develop empathy, they become good listeners and tend to speak respectfully to others.
  • Establish Listening and Speaking Procedures

    An example of listening and speaking procedure is SLANT (Sit up straight. Listen. Answer and ask questions. Nod to show interest. Track the speaker). These behaviours are essential when children need to make a good first impression, either in school, college, or their personal or professional lives.
  • Vocabulary

    It’s crucial for children to use respectful alternatives while using their vocabulary in various situations. For example, instead of saying, “you’re stupid,” which is offensive, you can teach your children to use respectful alternatives, like “I disagree with you.”

Non-Verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication is the process of conveying messages or ideas without using speech or words. This type of communication includes the following:

  • Power of Pause

    Children need to learn the skill to pause, think and then ask questions. This will help them achieve two things: slow them down a bit to listen more effectively to others and begin to see another’s point of view. Teach them to ask questions such as ‘why,’ or ‘what do you mean?” to have a successful conversation with others.
  • Practice Speaking and Listening in Everyday Situations

    Speaking and listening skills are vital in all areas of a child’s life. Make your child talk about their interests. Consider doing role plays on situations they are likely to encounter, like an argument with a friend or disagreeing with an authoritative person respectfully.
  • Introspection

    Introspection helps children learn where their thoughts or feelings come from. Understanding themselves as they understand others around them is not easy to acquire; it may take some time and work.
  • Turn-Taking

    Taking turns is one of the basic building blocks of good communication. It’s important to teach children not to jump into a conversation just because they feel like talking. They need to wait for their turn while they listen to others talk without interrupting. And when it’s their turn to talk, they can pick up the conversation where they left off.
  • Body Language

    The body language says a lot of things without you saying anything. That’s why it’s very important that your child learns how negative non-verbal actions and behaviours can hurt people. For example, non-verbal actions like rude facial expressions, yawning at a speaker, eyes rolling, nail picking, etc., can hurt people’s feelings.
  • Eye Contact

    It’s important that you teach your child to establish eye contact with the person they speak with. Maintaining eye contact in a conversation shows interest and gives respect.

How can parents help their child improve communication skills?

  • Talk regularly with your child.

    Encourage your child to begin or join in the conversation. This will make them feel more comfortable to open up in front of others. Some situations where there is an opportunity for you to chat with your child are: When travelling, talk about where you’re headed. When preparing meals, chat about the steps involved in making the dish. During commercial breaks, talk about the favourite part of the TV show you are watching.
  • Have practice conversations with your child.

    Make it a habit to talk through different types of situations your child might be apprehensive or nervous about. Practice what your child might say while taking turns pretending to be each person in different scenarios and topics. Need some help? Check tips on English conversation for kids here.
  • Read with them.

    It doesn’t matter what you read as long as you do it together. Don’t forget to discuss the setting, characters, plot and new words in the story. Your child will develop a better understanding of the character and plots, and vocabulary used, which they can use in conversations. You can find great tips on developing good reading habits in kids here.
  • Listen to and reflect on what your child says.

    When you listen to your child and reflect upon what they have to say, you are actually modelling one of the most important conversation skills. When your child tells you something, repeat part of what they said and follow it up with a question. For example, “Great, it seems like you had a lot of fun while doing your art project. What other project you think would be fun?”
  • Point out body language.

    It’s important that your kid understands body language and is able to pick on other children’s non-verbal cues. Consider explaining and showing body language. For example, “You should not roll your eyes at me. It’s a sign of disrespect.”
  • Ask your child’s opinion.

    Always ask for your child’s opinion on something that involves them. For example, where do you want to go for your summer vacation? You can also ask your child to weigh in on relevant topics, such as who should have won the match? Try using statements like “I feel” or “ I think” for making everyday conversations successful.
  • Encourage your child to keep a journal.

    Some kids find it easier to talk with other people once they’ve had their thoughts sorted. Writing in a journal about their everyday activities and feelings may help them think their thoughts through, making it easier for them to share with others. This makes your child feel more confident and prepared to carry on a successful conversation.
  • Be a good role model.

    Your child is watching you intently. When you show respect and kindness while talking to others, your child is likely to take on your tone and manner when they communicate with others. And when you expect the same kindness and respect from others, you are modelling how they should expect to be treated by others.
  • Enroll in online classes

    There’s only so much you, as a parent, can do to improve communication skills in kids. A child needs a learning environment where they are motivated to learn through a unique learning experience. Online classes offer children a platform to learn better, grasp faster, and communicate better. Through a comprehensive communication skills programme, online classes make the process of learning fun through game-based activities and exercises.

Games and activities to develop good communication skills in children

The following activities, exercises, and games include the above 10 communication fundamentals that can help improve communication skills in kids.

  • Picture Storytelling

    Give your child a lot of pictures. Ask them to use the pictures in a sequence to tell a story.  Another way is to give only one picture and ask them to depict the things they see in the picture.

    Skills triggered: Imagination; thinking capacity; expression of thoughts in an orderly, sequential manner
  • Eye Contact Circle

    This is a group activity. You can ask your child’s friends to join, or you can even gather your family members. When the group is formed, ask them to create a circle. Each member will answer one simple question. For example, what’s your favourite food? As each member answers the question, they must establish mutual eye contact with someone in the circle. Once that’s done, the member has to call out the partner’s name and then slowly switch places with them, maintaining eye contact all the way through.

    Skills triggered: Trust-building; information processing 
  • Emotional Charades

    Give a few cards to your kid, each card depicting an emotion or feeling, like sadness, anger, boredom, happiness, or fatigue. Ask them to act each feeling/emotion out. Another way is to ask your child to draw the different feelings/emotions they are likely to experience in their everyday situations.

    Skills triggered: Understanding of using different facial expressions, signals, and body postures to communicate
  • Extempore

    Make chits on interesting topics and ask your child to pick up a chit and talk on the topic for a few minutes without rehearsing.

    Skills triggered: Quick thinking and reacting; correct and effective articulation of ideas
  • Role Plays

    Assign the role of a parent or a teacher to your child and allow them to be creative in coming up with words and expressions that adults would use. They will also be able to view the situation from the other person’s viewpoint.

    Skills triggered: Empathy; perspective-taking
  • Finish the Nursery Rhyme Story

    Ask your child to imagine alternative creative endings to their favourite nursery rhymes.

    Skills triggered: Imagination; creativity; presentation

How can PlanetSpark help your child develop effective communication skills?

PlanetSpark is not your typical English coaching class; it is much more. Through our comprehensive curriculum, designed by XLRI, Harvard and Google alumni, we have re-imagined learning communication skills through a practical approach that involve role-playing, games and activities. Our online classes for improving communication skills in kids are fun, engaging, and skill-focused, delivered by trained and qualified instructors.

Develop your child’s inner confidence and enhance their ability to express and influence. Enroll them for a powerful, fun-learning, and interactive online experience with PlanetSpark.