Simplicity, consistency, honesty & good listening skills can do wonders you can’t even imagine.
When does it start?
You wouldn’t believe but it starts at their 16th week in the womb and the importance of communication keeps increasing with each passing milestone. In the mighty Mahabharata we were told that the baby Abhimanyu learns of the Padmavyuha while in the womb itself, after all it was not a fairy tale.
While it might look slightly funny to the spectators when they find a lady talk to her belly, but otherwise the studies have proven that the baby responds and learns right from that stage.
Just a few pointers that I wish to share from my experience, both mistakes and also when I got it right.
1. Decrease the decibel and treble in your voice
No matter what the situation is, decrease the decibel and treble in voice when you speak to your kid. Believe me you get the desired output quicker and better. Raising voice is an immediate release but whatever has been accomplished by that is only a knee jerk reaction and it might not work later. Reserve that high pitch when to point out danger or when something’s terribly wrong , and for the rest, stick to the ‘art of living’ speech pitch. It calms you down and also the kid
2. Simple and clear
Keep your communication simple and clear. If the kids ask you questions, it’s important you answer. But what’s more important after the tone and the eye contact is the way you put your answer. A same question might have to be answered differently to your child at age 3, at 5 and at 7. For example, if they ask you about the phenomena of morning and night, you could choose an answer that uses most of the words from their vocab. For a 3 year old, may be you could say that the sun goes to the other side and sends the moon, and they take turns to be with you. Later on you can gently add the concept of earth with a few new words added one at a time. You could also try role playing with kids making them move like earth, sun and moon.
3. Be honest when it comes to emotions
It is impossible to be patient 24/7 365 days. We all have moments that we are not proud of, when you lose it and say things that you don’t mean in the tone that’s not exactly nice. In situations like that What could be better than trashing ourselves with guilt or leaving the child confused. It might be a good idea to explain your kid that you were really upset about something that they did, or that you had a hard day, and apologise gently and mean it. And telling them what could help next time is a good way to resolve your guilt and also the discomfort for the child after the outburst.
4. Stay consistent
This is the key, the magic wand to control future tantrums. It’s a lot of hard work to stay consistent in what you communicate with your child. If it’s healthy food that’s an important rule at home, then not just preach but stick to that rule repeatedly in any situation (first 3 to 5 yrs. are the habit forming years – they also form the culture for your family). If it’s taking turns that you believe in teaching him with his playmates/or at school, then you have to remember to take your turn when with him. It did help when we took turns in choosing the songs as we played them in the car. My son got used to the idea of giving a turn and also claiming his. It could have helped him in learning to be assertive as well as considerate. These tiny things that happen daily could be sending out a consistent message through many mediums – Your words, actions, practices and repetitions of the same concept through putting to use will make your message strong and clear.
5. Develop listening skills
We are all great listeners especially with our kids, since we want to be a perfect parent. It is also equally important to make the kids as good listeners. They might have an attention span of the Dora fish from Nemo clan, but still teach them to practice listening even if it’s for few seconds. Slowly increase the duration as you observe them. Teach them to listen to the simple sounds first and make a game of reaction based on those sounds. May be animal sounds, or simple rhymes or even recorded voices of your family members. Play them back and let them recognise (either name them or match them with their pictures – I bet this works much better than those millions of memory match games available in the glossy boxes)
Happy communicating with your little ones! Nothing beats the joy of having a lovely conversation with them.