Helping Your Child To Talk
Start as you mean to go on. Talk to your toddler and really listen to him.
In a group as intimate as a family, it's easy to think that you've heard it all before, that you know what your toddlers think. But don't assume you already know what they're going to say. Believe it or not, even very small children have some original opinions.
If your toddler is struggling to be understood, try to ignore the other things that need doing and pay full attention to your child - this also helps them understand that it's not necessary to throw a tantrum in order to get a word in edgeways!
There are many emotional 'triggers' that can stop us from listening. Harassed parents may find tantrums infuriating when they are trying to get to work on time, or night-waking can drive you mad if a new baby is already draining your sleep ration.
Toddlers have a limited vocabulary and can't express themselves very well, so don't assume they are just whining or being naughty. Something may have upset them. Perhaps morning tantrums are caused by fears about going to nursery, or wetting the bed results from a fear of the dark. What your child needs most is reassurance.
If you begin 'active listening' when your children are little, it will stand you in good stead for later! Remember to gear your approach to the age of your child and start small.
'Active Listening' discourages parents from jumping in with their own opinions, solutions, criticisms, orders, and so on, and asks them simply to listen to their child and keep on listening By careful listening, you show respect for your child's feelings and give some space to explore the problem and maybe reach a solution.
Active listening involves only 3 steps
Stop whatever it is you're doing and give your child with your full attention.
Acknowledge What Is Said With A Brief Listening Response
Don't jump in with advice, solutions, put downs or lectures. Your non-committal response allows your child to continue to explore her own thoughts and feelings.
All you have to do really is talk and listen!
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