Things to remember while communicating with children

Children need and have a right to clear and interesting child-centered  communication. Children at different stages have very different needs and interests and learn in different ways from different media/materials.

Not only is there verbal language, there is body language, foreign languages, sign language, and Braille. As a parent you do not have to provide exposure to all forms, but it would be valuable to demonstrate some of the ways in which we can communicate.Following are few things one needs to remember while communicating with children.

Different Methods: Expose your child to different forms of communication. This can be a first step to the acceptance of differences and the recognition of the commonalities of all people. If a second language is not spoken in your home, it is helpful to have your child see and hear people communicating in a language other than the one the child knows.

Some children’s music CDs have a Hindi version as well as English on the same compact disk. You can purchase music with songs in other languages, too. Check with your local vendors listings for referrals to a bilingual teacher or professional who is interested in visiting your playgroup or preschool. The tutor could have casual discussion, introduce songs, read a portion of a story, and use real “things”upon which to base the introduction of words in a different language. On your next visit to the library, you might show your child a book written in Braille, explain why some people read by this technique. Visit a store or the section of your bookstore with books on tape and introduce your child to ‘reading’ in this manner.

Body Language: Most likely, your child is a master at interpreting your body language. Children seem to be able to assess their parents’ frames of mind and moods just by looking at them. See how your child does at inferring the emotional tone of some pictures of people, either in books or magazines, family photographs, and comic strip characters. Discuss what you can assume from the picture that might be the cause of the subject’s happiness or displeasure. To make the activity more challenging, gather several photographs or pictures.

Show your child photos with clearly revealed emotions. Use just two or three pictures with happy or sad or surprised subjects. Sort all of the photos into two groups. Explain to your child that the game begins with first viewing the displayed picture. Next, think of how the person is feeling. You could demonstrate with one photo for your child. Use the first group of photos for your child to identify the expressions and emotions and use the second group of photos to test you.

Family Archives: While viewing some home videotapes of family events,you and your child can try to identify what people are feeling by the way they are acting on the film. Family photographs are also a good source of expressions and situations that result in recognizable emotions. After you and your child have had an opportunity to study various family photographs, invite your child to make a small family picture book. Select a few, interesting photographs to mount on construction paper and then staple the pages into a booklet. Encourage your child to “write” about each picture on the page. When finished, your child will have a special memories booklet to treasure.

Foreign Language: Brain research has suggested a child’s peak learning years are from birth to age 10.It is during those early years that the connections between brain cells are built very quickly. From about age 10 and into adulthood the synaptic connections between brain cells slowly decline. While the educational impact of this research is still being determined, we know that some abilities can be more easily developed during the early years. Learning a foreign language (a second language) is one of those abilities; young children have a natural ability to acquire foreign languages. Young children can readily master pronunciations that present difficult hurdles to high school students. If your child is introduced to a foreign language before turning age 10, the learning will be easier than if it begins when he/she is older.

In addition to the developmental cues that brain research is revealing, there are other considerations. Learning a second language helps you teach your child respect for cultural differences. It sparks interest and promotes cultural awareness. It will better prepare your child to compete in a global economy and it also may enhance your child’s own English language ability. Finally, aligning learning experiences with readiness to learn promotes positive self-esteem through mastery and success. Students, primary through high school, feel good about themselves as learners when they experience success.

Ethnic festivals or foreign language song recordings serve as introductions to other spoken languages but are only a starting point. Young children benefit greatly from working with a bilingual person, whether a volunteer or instructor. At elementary school levels, parent groups can bring foreign language concerns to the forefront of curriculum issues. Young children learning a foreign language are not going to study different forms of a verb printed on the chalkboard, or fill out worksheets, or read thick textbooks. Instead, they are going to learn the pronunciations of the language,work with manipulatives, learn their names and become familiar with the language through the study of words in different contexts.

For instance,children will speak words,sing words,and hear the words in stories.

History frequently shows us a delayed response to research-based information that will benefit children’s learning. Despite the hurdles you may encounter, with some creativity you can find a way to address this issue for your child and perhaps even help plant the seed of interest in your community to bring about improvement.


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