You talk to your daughter every day; some would say all day! But how much of that talk makes up meaningful conversations? A conversation is a back and forth exchange between two or more people. Your little one says something and first you listen. Then, you respond while she listens. You give her time to respond and so on and so forth in a serve and return pattern. Conversations can be about anything at all –from her favorite character to your plans for the weekend. The important thing is to talk with your daughter, and not just at her.
Having meaningful conversations with your child will build her confidence and self-esteem, because she’ll learn that you care about her and are interested in her thoughts and feelings. She’ll also learn to become an effective communicator while building her vocabulary and language skills. Here are a few tips to get those conversations going:
- Find time to talk to your daughter without any distractions around (cellphone included!). Give her your undivided attention.
- If you are in the middle of something and your little one wants your attention, try and stop what you’re doing to listen. A few minutes of your full attention will go a long way.
- Be patient. Give her time to respond. A quiet pause will give her time to organize her thoughts and get back to you.
- Have a special time during the day when you talk in a meaningful way and are conscious about it. Talking about your day can become a part of your bedtime routine, for example.
- Keep an eye on your child’s body language and facial expressions to really comprehend what she’s trying to say.
- Respect her thoughts and feelings. Regardless if you think she is right or wrong, listen and respond letting her know you hear her.
- Ask open-ended questions that require more than a simple yes or no answer, and do the same with your responses, practice saying more than that yourself!