Talking and listening is a skill that we need for life.
Most of us can talk. We learn from birth. But not everyone learns how to communicate well.
- It’s how we learn.
- It’s how we share our thoughts and feelings.
- It’s how we make friends.
- It’s how we share our stories and ideas.
- It’s how we get the job done when we move into the workforce.
- It’s how we buy things at the shops.
If we can’t communicate well, we might struggle with learning and with life.
That’s why we want parents and carers to know about the important role they can play in developing confident communicators.
So what can I do?
As a parent or carer, you are your child’s first and most important teacher.
Taking time every day to talk to your kids will help them develop these essential skills.
From the moment your child is born, they want to interact with you. They need you to talk to them.
Little children may not be able to talk back. But by chatting to them you are showing them how talking and listening works. This builds connections in their brain.
As they grow older and start saying their first words, they will be listening to you to learn new sounds and words.
Always wait and give them time to speak. Resist interrupting. Some children will take a while to process what you are telling them. They aren’t ignoring you, they just need more time.
Talking at home is still important when your child goes to school
In the early years at Primary school, your child’s talking and listening skills will be really important. They need these skills to learn how to play and learn alongside their classmates. They also need them to learn how to read and write.
From toddlers to teens, your kids will never stop learning new words and ways of talking.
Kids listen to you and learn all the ways we talk to each other – from serious talk to silly talk, school talk to sarcastic talk. And of course sport talk and screen talk.
The good news is, it’s easy for our kids to become great at communicating.
If you are a parent or carer, you just need to spend time every day with them talking and listening.
This will set them up for life.
Find the right time to talk for your family
You don’t need to have long chats. Find a time that works best for your family. It might be when you are in the car together or walking the dog. Maybe it’s at the dinner table or while you are playing a game together.
If talking looks a bit different in your family – maybe you use sign language or an AAC device – you can still help your child become a confident communicator.
If you don’t know what to talk to your kids about, we’ve come up with some Talk Ideas to get you started.
So Let’s Talk!
Sign up to the Let’s Talk Newsletter!
We would love to keep you informed about our latest talk ideas, talk tips and competitions.
Sign up here for all our latest news.