Parenting Connection: How to build better communication skills

Parenting Connection

Communication is a necessary skill for young kids to learn and child development experts at Michigan State University have come up with way parents and caregivers can help kids get better at it. They tout a communication strategy called the three T’s: tune in, talk more, and take turns. In this article we’ll focus on “tune in” — that many experts say is the first step in building strong communication skills.

Tuning-in is essentially watching your kids and then verbally engaging with them about what they’re doing and thinking. Development experts say, this type of strategy helps your child build connections in their brain by creating links between what is currently happening and using words to describe or explain it.

Experts say, the act of tuning-in involves parental responsiveness that’ll take shape in three steps: observation, interpreting, and action. For example, you observe your young child playing with blocks. You then interpret your child is interested in playing with them and then act with your child by starting a conversation, having them describe what they’re doing, or you narrating the scene.

Child experts at the Michigan State University extension say, the following are ways to help “tune-in” to your child:
*Play detective. Find out what they are interested in, what makes them laugh, and what toys and activities they seem to gravitate toward.
*See with their eyes. This means, take some time to see the world from their point of view and connect in that way.
*Follow your child’s cues. If he or she likes to stare at the dog or gets excited during something — take those moments to engage and help build important verbal connections.

Next week we’ll examine the second T, representing “talk more.”

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