Listening and Communication Skills in Children: A Guide for Development

Listening and communication both verbally and non-verbally,  begins the moment your child is born. Some even believe that these developmental skills begin to develop when a child is still in the womb. Either way, the more you talk to your unborn or newborn baby, the better listener and communicator he or he will be.

Be a Better Listener
Listening is a hard practice to learn. Even adults show impatience in listening sometimes, because they want to get their voice heard. With this impatience continues the inability to respect others by listening to what they have to say. Listening is the basis for effective communication.

Understanding Listening and Communication

Listening includes the beautiful sounds that are around you, but is also the start to effective communication. It is the act of clearly giving a speaker your attention and focus so you can respond intelligently. Listening to another is a true essence of showing respect. For babies, it is the listening of a parent speaking to them.

Through listening, communication begins to develop in response to what is heard. Effective communication can’t exist without listening. Communication is not only about words, but understanding through non-verbal gestures what is trying to be communicated. For example, non-verbal communication at the infant stage can be done through crying, smiling, or even laughing. This will soon develop into verbal communication as your baby continues to grow.

When Does a Child Develop Listening and Communication Skills?

Communicate with your baby immediately after birth. A baby’s first communications may be done through facial expressions or crying, but if you listen to these forms of communication, you will be able to connect deeply with your baby. Your baby will continue to learn that you are respectfully listening to what is being communicated, and in turn you are responding accordingly, teaching your child about effective communication.

From a newborn to age 3 you will observe giant leaps in listening and communication with your child. Even if your child’s first attempt at verbal communication sounds silly, listen, even if you don’t understand, and try your best to respond accordingly. When you listen and add more information to what your child is trying to communicate, you will encourage the same from your child.

During normal activities, such as going for a walk with your child, changing his or her diaper, or bathing your child talk about the events that lead to the activity, talk about what is being done during the activity, and talk about the completed event. Another valuable tool in developing listening and communication skills with your young child is through reading.  Remember, a child loves to listen to your words. 

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