Effective Communication Skills for Children

By Susan Ayers
Effective Communication Skills for Children

Having effective communication skills means more than just knowing how to talk. Children often need guidance in learning how to interact with others when speaking, writing and using electronic forms of communication. Use role-playing to teach children how to communicate with peers and adults. It's a fun and engaging way for kids to learn.

Active Listening

Active Listening

Help your child understand the importance and develop the skills of listening to others, while also teaching him that it is OK to ask questions if he needs clarification. Teach children, in the simplest terms, how active communication works. Practice role-playing with a child to help him learn proper ways to address adults. Discuss words that are off-limits and let the child know that these words are unacceptable in the home and elsewhere.

With younger children, play games like the telephone game or start a story and have your child finish it.

Nonverbal Communication Skills

Nonverbal Communication Skills

Talk to your child about nonverbal communication. Discuss the importance of posture and body language in conversation. Remind a child about space perimeters between her and the listener. Practice different types of body language with the child so she can understand how they affect others' perception of her message. Use simple terms such as "When you stand with your arms crossed, the listener might think you are angry or frustrated even if you are not." Practicing through role-playing or games will help your child develop effective communication skills that will carry her into adulthood.

Tone of Voice

Tone of Voice

Discuss the importance of using appropriate tones when speaking. Try to reinforce that yelling and arguing may not be the best way to communicate with other children. Be mindful of your own tone of voice when talking with a child.

Electronic Communication

Electronic Communication

Teach your child how to communicate virtually. Discuss the importance of Internet safety and make sure he knows to avoid chatting or messaging with strangers. Have a younger child practice sending emails through your email account until he is old enough to have his own. Emphasize how communication can be misconstrued when communicating virtually and discuss the importance of thinking about the wording of messages before clicking the "Send" button.

Writing Skills

Writing Skills

Have your child spend time writing letters. A great place to start is to have her send thank-you notes for gifts received. Purchase small postcards for your child to write short notes to family members who live in other cities.

About the Author

Based in Richmond, Va., Susan Ayers is a senior learning associate for a financial organization. She previously developed web-based training for Circuit City and spent a number of years creating eLearning courses for a not-for-profit law enforcement organization. Ayers graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Virginia Commonwealth University and holds a master's in education from St. Joseph's College.