How do you talk to children?

Admittedly, the title sounds a bit awkward - not something we walk around thinking about. How do you talk to children?

We humans talk and communicate all the time and often there is probably no thought behind how it happens. But how we communicate - whether we are good at it or not (etc.) depends on different things. How we grew up, how our adults communicated with us, what feeling we have for it and in that way: how well we master communication. As with everything else.

We have tips on how to talk to children

Emotional card

"Communication is thus crucial for our survival, but if we also learn to communicate well and make ourselves understood, the chance of good and functioning relationships throughout life increases."

How does my child think?

Communication is something that happens on many levels or ways, often at the same time. What do we say, what do we do, what do we not do, what do we radiate, what do our facial expressions, our eyes, our body language say? And much more..

We compare children to each other by how well they speak, but the child's communication ability does not always follow the language ability, so the concern many feel when the child does not speak when expected may be unwarranted. After all, the little baby and the small child communicate in so many different ways - without using a single word. Had we not understood wordless communication, man would not have survived.

Communication is thus crucial for our survival, but if we also learn to communicate well and make ourselves understood, the chance of nice and functioning relationships throughout life increases. Without good relationships (including the one we have with ourselves) it's hard to feel good.

Having said that, it becomes almost superfluous to write: effective communication is the key to a good life.

Tips for things that can stimulate the child's linguistic and communicative abilities:

  • Talk a lot. Children need to talk to adults they are close to. As a close adult to a child, you are extremely important for the child's language development. Linguistic stimulation – talking a lot helps the child to find the language himself. Put words to it and talk about what you and the child are doing - and the child will learn many new words. Simple (perhaps sometimes seemingly "meaningless" sentences) such as "Now we put on the jacket" at the same time as you put on the jacket are important for children's language development.

  • Listen just as much. Listening and showing that you are listening is at least as important as everyday conversation. Show interest and be present as often as you can when the child talks and shares.
  • Children learn through play. Sometimes adults mistake play for being separate, an exception to the important things in life. But the fact is that play is crucial in children's development and young children (even older ones) often learn the most through play. Here, communication plays a big part - in role-playing and in the conflicts that arise, we learn to communicate and interact with each other. Overall, play is something that should be the biggest part of the child's day.
Activity book
  • Don't correct. But don't be afraid to speak up for yourself. Accept how the child speaks, even if it's not quite right (which of course it isn't at first!) If the child says, for example, "doj seep" (doll sleep), you can say "yes, the doll is sleeping (in his bed)". Then you show that you have understood what the child is saying (but you do not correct). You are a kind of linguistic role model without placing any value whatsoever on how the child speaks.

  • Read and tell. Reading to the child is good for language development. Looking at pictures and telling the story yourself also works well. Encourage the child to join in and fill in, fantasize and tell. Creating your own fairy tale or taking part in a story stimulates language as well as the ability to communicate - for example by getting to put yourself in different roles.

  • Set aside time to switch off. Turn everything off sometimes (phones, screens, etc.). It's easy to think that phones and other things don't affect that much, but try to actually remove them actively sometimes and see if it creates different conditions for talking, playing and communication.

Talk to children about death?

Through the simple, everyday, we learn. If we start early, to listen to the small child's way of communicating and to what the child expresses in different ways, we create greater opportunities for him to grow up and form good, secure relationships and dare to tell us when something feels wrong. Whole life. The big conversations, like talking to children about death (or whatever it is) are so much closer to hand when the "small" conversations in everyday life are a matter of course. When we learn to talk about everything, or that everything is okay to talk about anyway, what seems difficult to tackle becomes easier.

Children do not do as we say, children do as we do.

We actually know that, don't we? Nevertheless, we stand there, sometimes more often than we wish, and try to "bank" wisdom into the children with firm words and an important voice. Then most of it will come by itself, I think. "Give the children love, more love and even more love, and common sense will come by itself" as Astrid Lindgren said. And of course it is! But practicing communicating and actively making choices to open the children's channels to better communication is still a pretty good idea in a world where it is probably not entirely easy to make yourself heard and be who you are. And in addition - if we create small people (who later become big!) who become experts in communication, empathy and relationships, then we create the conditions for a whole new world, right? Even if that idea feels utopian, I think it's worth trying! I mean, do we really have anything better for us – what could be more important than just that?

With summer and time to fill for many families with children, we can invest a little extra in that communication thing. I don't know if anyone can call themselves an expert, but you can definitely become very good at emotions and communicating with the help of e.g. emotion cards! Have you tried?