As a parent, you know your child like the back of your hand. You know which foods he or she will refuse to eat. You know the faces he or she will make when he or she is happy or sad. You also know what his or her favourite book is. And you know the expressions they will make when they are disappointed or joyful. But how do you keep up with such changes?
Parents can use quality talk to extend their children’s vocabulary. For example, reading the same book together can help a child learn a new word. They can also extend their child’s vocabulary by discussing it with their parents. If you’re in the grocery store, you can go outside and play a game. You can even make up your own games. However, when you’re playing games with your child, it’s best to stick to things they’re familiar with.
The research suggests that children learn the most about language and literature by listening to their parents’ daily conversations. For example, the mother’s questions were asked more often than the father’s. Those children who spend more time with their mothers have more meaningful conversations than those of their fathers.
There are dozens of other studies that have talked about the idea of a socioeconomic gap and impact on communication. Harvard University researcher Meredith Rowe found that the type of conversation between low-income families and high-income families was due to parental education. The higher-income parents used more vocabulary and longer sentences.
While it’s hard to make a difference in the way parents and children speak to one another, it’s possible to create a richer environment for meaningful parent-child conversations. These meaningful conversations can be set up anywhere – at the dinner table or on the way to after-school activities. These opportunities are great for developing the necessary conversational skills. They provide a natural environment for your child to practice appropriate vocabulary.
The following tips can help you have a meaningful conversation with your child
• Make sure you listen as well as talk; don’t just give orders for them to do things for you, listen.
• Don’t take things badly when they say whatever they need.
• Make them talk back to you, so they learn how to express their feelings and thoughts.
• Encourage talking to each other, and refrain from punishing them severely if they don’t say what you want.
• Don’t speak slowly or too loudly; your child needs to be able to hear what you are saying comfortably, and remember it.
It is vital for both parents and children to have a conversation which involves understanding and listening to each other. This helps in building communication skills, confidence and vocabulary resulting in personality development.