We have all heard the saying “Talk Is Cheap” right? Well, when it come to our kids, I totally disagree! Interacting and conversations with our kids is invaluable – from birth to adulthood, communication is such a strong building block.
No one likes to be ignored and we all feel what we have to say is important. So, my wife and I have conversations with our 4 1/2 yr old, Julia, everyday. In the car on the way to and from school, during meals, while cooking, etc. These conversations has helped make Julia and us better listeners and Julia has learned to be a good conversationalist for her age. We don’t want just yes or no answers, so when we ask “How was your day at school?” and we use to get “Good” for an answer, we’d follow-up with “What was your favorite part of the day? Why” “Who did you eat lunch with? What did they eat?” Etc. It’s almost become ritual now that at dinner we all take turns talking about “our day.” It’s fun and nice!
Although our 1-year-old, Stella, is not “talking”, communicating with her is equally important so she doesn’t feel left out, she can hear and pick up speech, tone, words and absorb these language skills as well.
- Infants love to hear their parents/family members voices…it brings comfort, familiarity and emotions into their lives.
- Toddlers learn through repetition and experience. Their vocabularies develop and grow through speech.
- Preschoolers continue to absorb information like sponges! My 4 1/2 year-old always asks what a new word means when she hears it from us, others or on tv/radio. I have to admit sometimes it is a challenge to define and explain some word, but I rather have her learn from us and enjoy conversing with her every day. We also enjoy reading every night before bed.
- School age kids have their communication and listening skills developed by all the earlier interactions and exposures. I believe all the prior experience helps them build focus, tone, writing skills and relationship building (via interactions and meaningful conversations).
- Pre-teen and young adults – cognitive thinking, forming solid statements based on reasoning and being able to stand for a cause with strong will and belief. Independence in mind and being resourceful and successful in school and career.
So, my bottom line – “Talk is NOT cheap when it comes to children!” Listen, communicate and take time to have fun yet meaningful conversations and read together when possible.
- The Art of Conversation: How to Avoid Conversational Narcissism (artofmanliness.com)
- Listening is different from hearing. (mediumsworld.wordpress.com)