Creative Child

8 Ways to Teach Your Child the Art of Conversation

by Deborah Song on May 25th, 2017

Knowing how to make small talk ranked as one of the most important skills in retaining and getting a job in a recent study. Not to mention that many colleges interview their candidates as well. And with many private schools vetting their candidates as early as kindergarten, good conversational skills is proving to come in handy at a much earlier age than we thought.

Earlier still, a child who knows how to converse would more readily make friends, adjust to his new surroundings quicker, express himself clearer, and land himself in situations where he can lead. You could say success begins with the art of conversation.

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Today’s kids, however, face unprecedented challenges, thanks in large part to the bombardment of social media and the new condensed speak of 140 characters or less. The opportunities to develop good speaking skills may be diminishing but they still bound. And with a little conscious effort from parents, kids can develop this essential life skill and position themselves light years ahead of their peers. Here are some tips.

1. Make eye contact. When your child speaks to you, try to make eye contact with her, which may require stopping what you’re doing. It’s not enough to let your child speak into the ethereal while you go about your busy routine, but demand she make eye contact with whomever speaks to her.  As nonsensical as it may seem, she needs to be taught how to make eye contact. Studies show that while not making eye contact communicates lack of self-confidence, staring continually for more than 3 seconds is interpreted as aggressive. Knowing how to make eye contact is a subtle art form. Unlike long division, however, it’s relatively easy to teach. It just requires your undivided attention from time to time. 

2. Listen without interrupting. If you make eye contact with your child when he speaks to you, you’re already half way there to really listening because eye contact forces you to be present. Being present leads to another integral party of good listening: empathy. It’s one thing to hear what your child says and quite another to take the time to validate his feelings and opinions without waving them off as trivial. You can further reinforce good listening skills by teaching your child the value and advantages that come with being a good listener. Good listeners are known not only as empathetic people but peacemakers as well.  As a result, good listeners always have a plethora of friends.

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