Communication is the sharing of information between two or more people. It takes both verbal and non-verbal forms. As one of the major developmental tasks in early childhood, learning to communicate is vital for children in order to interact with the people in their life and to have their social, emotional, and physical needs met. During early childhood years, both families and teachers are critical for stimulating children’s communication skills.
Communicating positively with young children helps them to develop confidence and to build constructive relationships with others. Children learn to communicate by watching their parents, and other people around them. Here are a few ways to communicate positively with children:
Fostering communication skills in young children is incredibly important, even from birth. Infants are communicating using non-verbal means with facial expressions and eye contact, as well as sounds, such as laughing, babbling, and crying. To encourage infant communication, provide meaning to their efforts. For example, “You are laughing. You like it when I tickle your toes!” It’s also beneficial to use real words, not baby talk!
As children grow, they begin to learn to use language to communicate. Toddlers communicate with gestures and grunts, one- or two-word sentences, emotional expressions, and body movements. Here are some ways to encourage toddler communication:
Later on, preschoolers begin to talk in full, grammatically correct sentences. To encourage communication in preschoolers, try the following ideas:
These sites offer further information on helping children develop effective communication skills: