Tips for communicating effectively

  • Behaviour is communication. Observe your child. What provokes different types of behaviour? How do you respond? What happens next? Sometimes children learn through cause and effect ‘what buttons to press’ to gain responses from adults. Make sure you give plenty of positive attention to your child.
  • Allow sufficient time for the child to do what he needs to do, and also to process requests you make.
  • Use positive language and offer a positive alternative. Show the child what you want her to do, so if your child is throwing her books on the floor try, “We read books; if you want to throw something we can go outside and throw your ball.  First let’s pick up your books together.”
  • Try not to ask a question you don’t want an answer to! So, if it’s bath time and no amount of negotiating is going to change that, say “Let’s go have a bath” instead of “Do you want a bath?”
  • Try to say ‘yes’ as much as possible, sometimes even when you mean no (“Yes you can have that, as soon as your brother finishes with it” instead of “No, your brother is playing with it, you have to wait”).
  • Save the word “no” for when you really need it (when the child is in danger, or someone could get hurt, or something is about to be broken), so the child will learn that no really means no.  Also try to explain why you have said no in simple terms so the child understands what is being refused and why.

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