The ability to communicate with others is a critical social skill for children to learn. Communication is about articulation, making eye contact, active listening and taking turns. While some children might seem like skilled communicators from an early age, other kids might require more opportunities to hone their communication skills and develop confidence in their abilities. Engaging your child in entertaining, enjoyable activities with an eye on encouraging effective communication can help strengthen this important skill.
Take a walk through the park or go on a nature trail and discuss what you observe with your child. Ask her to expand on the context, for example, "Look! There's a bird with a worm in his mouth. What do you think he's going to do with that worm?" Collect a small basket of rocks, flowers, leaves and twigs and ask your child to help you describe the color, texture and length of the items you find.
Going to the grocery store or drug store gives you and your child an opportunity to discuss items that exist in daily life. Ask him to describe each item you put in the cart and how it might be used. For example, milk is white, cold and it goes with cereal and in a cup for drinking. If you're shopping at the hardware store, point out a few basic items or tools and ask your child to describe what he might create with those items.
Even if you don't have a children's museum in your area, going to a museum of almost anything and talking about what you see encourages discussion, observation and communication. Tour a car museum and ask your child to describe what she thinks the car was used for, or who the driver was. If you go to an art museum, ask her what she likes or dislikes about each piece and why.
Directing Everyday Tasks
Providing directions for activities she's seen you do hundreds of times lets her practice communicating articulately and precisely, and staying calm if she needs to rephrase something. For example, put the clean clothes in the laundry basket and ask her to help you fold while describing what to do next. Have her instruct you in making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and follow her directions exactly, even if it means sticking your hand in the jar of jelly instead of the knife.
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