How to Communicate Effectively

In order for children to communicate effectively, they need to develop conversational skills.

Children need to be aware of issues related to:

  1. eye contact (e.g. when to maintain/avoid)
  2. body language (e.g. physical proximity, non-verbal messages)
  3. asking and answering questions (e.g. for clarification, giving relevant information)
  4. showing an interest in the speaker (e.g. verbal ‘fillers’ such as ‘yes’, ‘ah’, etc.)
  5. turn-taking (e.g. how to join in, how to recognise cues to speak)

They also need to recognise their own thoughts and emotions before they can empathise with other people’s feelings and understand the effects of these on behaviour.

Children need to be taught how to:

  1. identify situations/people that evoke particular emotions
  2. recognise that emotions can be expressed through behaviours as well as words
  3. recognise the needs of others
  4. greet, meet, make and maintain friends

Children who have difficulties in adapting their communication skills according to the social context, need to be made aware of:

  1. using their voice effectively (e.g. volume, speed, intonation)
  2. appropriate vocabulary
  3. how to initiate and terminate a conversation
  4. turn-taking rules (e.g. adult/child, child/child)
  5. how to change the topic of conversation
  6. maintaining a topic of conversation
  7. giving and receiving information (e.g. taking messages)

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