You are communicating all the time, even when you are not physically speaking you are communicating. You can never not communicate; this is why learning good communication skills from a young age is vital in developing healthy relationships with people as you grow up and why we, in our field of child therapy, emphasise this in our work.
At NLP4Kids we frequently work with young people experiencing confidence issues at home and at school to reduce the negative impact of communicating with others.
Communication is the means by which we understand one another, it helps us to understand others needs and it allows people to express themselves. Children can find it difficult to express themselves, as they do not have the experience of the adults around them. Having good communication skills is becoming more important for children; children need to be able to create good relationships with their peers and their teachers. It is also important that they feel able to communicate with their parents so they can share any anxieties they may have.
Research has shown that typically, children who have poor communication skills tend to achieve less than children with good communication skills, as they aren’t able to communicate properly and don’t strive to achieve. Knowing how you can help your child develop their communication skills can be very beneficial for your child.
Good communication skills are vital to children for many reasons. Having good communication skills helps your child to express themselves, they help them to connect with others, they help them achieve success, they can lead to improved confidence and they open possibilities for your child’s future.
You don’t just communicate when you physically speak; you communicate all the time through body language and gestures. There are several key communication skills that are useful for children to know. Every child should know how to communicate with others politely, manners don’t cost a thing and being polite shows you respect the other person. Children should learn how to communicate their ideas or feelings clearly, they should also learn the importance of not interrupting others, as this is very disrespectful. Listening to other people and making sure they are exhibiting the right body language is also key in developing good communication skills.
Teaching communication skills to your child from a young age is key in making sure they develop good communication skills and is the reason why we focus on communication skills within our techniques of child therapy. Parents have been proven to have a large influence on their child’s communication skill development. When you are younger you learn things easier as your brain is like a sponge, it soaks up information all the time. The skills you teach your child can become embedded from an early age.
Parents should also teach their child how to use the correct body language and gestures when communicating. For example teach your child to maintain good eye contact with people when speaking to them. Also teach your child the importance of the tone they use when talking to others, according to research tone is one of the main factors in effective communication. The tone of voice you use when speaking often gives away more than the actual words you are saying.
Children also learn through imitation, you should be a good role model to your child. For example if you want you child to be a good listener, then make sure you listen to your child properly. Their parents and their actions largely influence children; you should demonstrate good communication skills so your child will imitate them. Also you should reward your child for good communication. If you see your child demonstrating good communication skills at a family party or when speaking with their siblings, make sure you encourage this behaviour and give them praise. If you child sees that he is rewarded for good communication, then they will be more likely to repeat this behaviour in future.
By Gemma Bailey
Gemma Bailey is the director of NLP4Kids, a children’s therapy service that provides teen therapy and child counselling using NLP, a proactive alternative to conventional child psychology. If you are looking for a child counsellor to help your child overcome stress, depression or anxiety related problems or if you wish to book a workshop to help your child improve their mental health call 0203 6677294 or email Gemma@NLP4Kids.org Gemma is based in Hertfordshire and works with clients in and around Hemel Hempstead, St Albans, Watford, Potters Bar, Berkhamsted, North London and Hertfordshire.