Communication is how we interact with each other by exchanging thoughts, ideas and emotions through speaking, listening and body language. This complex process becomes even more intricate with young children who are on the start of their journey.
Maria Montessori spoke of human beings being hard wired to communicate with their sensitive period for language beginning from infancy to six years of age.
Through the Montessori approach of communication we are planting the seeds of connection and relationship based on respect and trust in the child.
Follow our 5 key steps for successful communication with your child.
Begin the approach from infancy.
The full benefits of the approach are based on practice and repetition. Even the youngest infant who will not be able to verbally respond will be absorbing all the communication around them. Touch is especially important for infants along with soft and reassuring motherese speech which fosters trust in those around them and the environment.
Be the role model.
It is important to remember that as a parent your child will soak up your every move and word. Speak, listen and respond with Model observing and listening before deciding on your words, tone, energy and body language. A child will learn far more from what you show them rather than what you tell them.
Ensure a language rich environment.From infancy honour a child as an individual. Avoid ‘baby talk’ but use the correct vocabulary and include them in conversations. Be the narrator of events for a young child to expand their language e.g. “You chose to pick up the red car. You are pushing it along the floor”. Sportscast conflicts and model thinking language to support problem-solving skills e.g. “You are playing with the green bike and your friend would like a turn too. When you are finished you can offer a turn.”
Slow down the pace & be at your child’s level.
When asking a child of any age a question or during a conversation, try not to rush in with answers. Be patient and allow ample time for thinking and responding often up to 15 seconds. Get down to your child’s level and maintain comfortable eye contact and a relaxed posture. Let you child speak without interruption to show that you are really interested and listening to what they are saying.
Decide on your method of language acquisition and communication and stick to it. Many families choose one person, one language and factor in considerations of the type and amount of input from each language, how much switching between languages may occur and a child’s preference for communication. It is a real gift to expose a child to more than one language, opening their mind to new ideas and perspectives.
Developing successful communication involves both the parent and child. Be patient as you both learn these new skills together. It takes time and practice but the benefits are lifelong.