Effective communication skills of an adult, is a result of the efforts taken by parents and teachers to build the skill all through childhood. Communication is defined as an, 'activity of conveying information'. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast distances in time and space. For the same to happen a child has to be taught organization of thoughts and their expression using appropriate vocabulary. The expression needs to have a flow and transition, so that it doesn't seem like an incoherent babble. Communication skills can be developed in children with simple techniques that can be turned into fun and educative games.
How to Improve Communication Skills in Your Child
Just as you keep your wardrobe organized to save time and to know where things are, you need to organize your thoughts too. This is the first and the most important lesson of developing effective communication skills in kids. If you are attempting to change your child's day-to-day communication patterns, then do it as a conscious effort. Do this simple exercise. Make your child sit in front of you and let him watch you first. Pick up any object in your house, make a two minute speech about it. Now, ask your child to do the same. He can pick his favorite toy, favorite pair of shoes, your pet or anything else. Make this an impromptu activity and see how many times he fumbles and jumbles with words. Make a note of the same and then do this activity consciously, by giving him a preparation time and see the difference. As he learns to organize his words, he will be better at expressing them.
Flow and Transition
Transition connects words and consequently thoughts, while flow gives it a sequence. Most adults incorporate this technique effortlessly in they regular speech. However, children cannot do it well, and hence need help to understand the flow and transition part of communication. To communicate an idea to a listener, speech needs to be constructed with flow and transition. Continue with the aforementioned activity and increase the length of the speech to five minutes. Longer duration of performance, will compel the child to perform better. Increasing the length of the speech will make your child think of what's going to come next and what is the next thing that needs to say about the object. The 'next' here is the key at helping your child develop a sense of transition, which brings about a flow in communication.
Children little older than five understand acting and can be great actors. Switch roles with your child for a couple of hours and see the magic of role play. Obviously, your child cannot do your work, but household chores such as some washing, cleaning, cooking, gardening, walking the pet and such odds jobs can be handled by a 7 -10 year old child for a few hours. You be the child, while your child becomes the parent. Make a chart of jobs to be done and set a time frame. This will indirectly communicate the importance of discipline and instill a sense of responsibility in your child. Role plays and dramatics are excellent ways of developing communication skills in children.
Reading and Writing
Reading is a habit that is picked up at an early age. Expose your child to the wonders of reading. Read with him, at least for an hour each day, till he can read on his own. Reading increases vocabulary, which helps expression and helps one get perspectives and opinions. Opinion formation is a crucial part of communication, as it is the basis of a need for communication in most cases. Also, get your child into the habit of writing or making notes of the most mundane things. One summer vacation, make writing a daily diary a project. Writing helps in assembling your thoughts and gives one a chance to experiment with newly learned words.
A child may be insightful, but he may lack the technique of putting forth his thoughts. This happens due to lack of confidence, poor language skills, and no elocution skills. The techniques mentioned above help in building all these in a gradual way. Communication skills have to be honed over a period of time. It is only by late teenage years, that a child will make an independent effort of improving communication, as that is the time when a new world of friends and foes is revealed. Until then, it is a team effort of family and teachers, to prepare the child with effective communication skills, so that he knows what to speak and when to, effectively!