How to Interact with Children

Interacting with your child solidifies a strong bond and increases positive learning. Regardless of your youngster’s age, meaningful interaction will help him learn and grow. Communicate daily through both verbal and nonverbal interaction and your little one will receive important information and learn valuable skills.

Ask questions that require responses with multiple words, advises J. Bullard, with Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall, an educational publisher writing for Asking questions that spark conversation helps your child develop thinking and problem-solving skills.

Speak to your child with a vocabulary that will teach her new words. Use imaginative adjectives to describe nouns. Although it’s not appropriate to speak to your child on a collegiate level, it might surprise you how quickly your youngster can expand her vocabulary simply by hearing new words in conversation. You might say, “Look at that lovely flower! The sepals are green, the petals are lavender and the anthers sticking straight up are golden yellow.”

Talk about activities as you engage in them with your child, suggests the HighScope educational research foundation website. For example, as you and your child walk to the library, comment on what you see so your child can benefit from your observations. Talk about your child’s independent pursuits, also, so you can share in these activities. For example, you might say, “It looked like you really enjoyed soccer practice today. You were really working hard on those dribbling skills. What was your favorite part of practice?”

Listen actively and attentively to your youngster, advises the Washington State Department of Social & Health Services. Eliminate distractions to enable you to focus on your child. As you listen, maintain eye contact and ask follow-up questions to clarify points. Paraphrasing back what you think you understood also helps children feel heard and valued. You might say, “It sounds like you’re really proud of that science project. I can see how hard you worked!”

Strive to have conversations with your child that involve two-sided, give-and-take interaction. By approaching your youngster as a person who has valuable insight, ideas and thoughts, you foster a positive communication style with your child. Even a young preschooler is old enough to converse about ideas. For example, you might say, “We need to go grocery shopping today. What kind of fruit do you think we should buy? What color apples do you like best?”

Use nonverbal interaction with your child to round out communication and interaction, advises the Commonwealth of Australia Cybertots website. Make eye contact from across the room to make a connection with your child 1. Smile warmly and often to show your affection. Wave to your child to communicate “hello” and “goodbye.” Touch your child gently on the arm or the shoulder to get his attention. Hug and kiss your youngster often to communicate your love.