How to communicate with Small Children?
Many of us struggle a lot during interaction with our small ones. The way we talk to our child has a huge impact on them. Based on my experience of dealing with thousands of small children over years, I see 4 fundamental things that we need to take care of as adults:
1. Big No to “NO” – Generally we say “No” or “Don’t” to our child. “Don’t shout!, “Don’t eat junk food!”, “Mummy! I want that helicopter!”, “NO!”. So instead of saying No or Don’t you can tell him/her what he/ she can do. For example instead of saying, “Don’t run in the room.” you can say, “ Run outside in the garden or appropriate place where he/she can run.” Using ridiculing language like you are bad boy/girl leaves your child feeling worthless. Positive and kind words enhance child’s confidence, help him/her behave better, and make him/her happy.
2. Give Choices instead of instructions – Instead of giving your child instructions, give them choices. You can give choices to them by using four magical words: “When”, “What”, “Which”, and “How”. For example you can ask your child, “Which color dress you want to wear today?” “When would you like to sleep?”, “How would you like to enjoy with Papa?”, and “What would you like to eat?” By giving choice to your child you make the child feel that his/ her decision is important and matters. This way you make your child Independent, confident, and enhance his/her decision making power. So give simple choices rather than instructions.
3. Respect your Child as “adult in small body” – Talk to your child as you would talk to an adult. Would you simply give any instructions to an adult without giving him the reason of why you are asking him to do something? Do the same thing with a child and talk with full respect. Your child is not incomplete human being who is going to get complete when they become adult. They are Whole, Complete and Perfect at all times and growing at the same time. Just like you are a complete human being and growing (may not be physically) at all times.
4. Connect with your child – While having any conversation with your child connect with your child through eye contact. To make an eye contact be at the child level and make sure your child is making eye contact with you as it is very important to get child’s attention in any conversation.