How to Talk to Children So They Will Listen and Respond – The Montessori Way
Struggling to find the right words to say so that children will listen is a rite of passage for parents and caregivers.
Learning how to improve communication with children is more than just getting them to do something; it is also about teaching them how to be better communicators, how to live peacefully, how to be kind, and how to effectively resolve conflict. This includes knowing when to intervene and how to communicate in the midst of a conflict.
How to Speak in a Way That Children Will Listen and Respond
After reading this article, you will feel more confident and prepared to communicate with your child and help guide your child to become a strong communicator.
Don’t freak out. You are not by yourself.
This stuff is difficult.
An adult finds it difficult to communicate with toddlers and preschoolers. So, in this article, we thought to share some tips for improving communication with young children that we’ve learned over the years. This information should serve as a reference tool for you as you perfect your methods for teaching children to listen, respond, and communicate effectively.
Did you know that toddlers and preschoolers have the ability to solve their own problems? Yes, it is correct!
“It is the child who makes the man, and no man exists who was not made by the child he once was.”
~ Dr. Maria Montessori
So, how do you talk to kids so they will listen? Let’s get started.
Children may be able to do it with the assistance and guidance of adults, who are often too quick to offer solutions without giving children the opportunity to come up with a solution on their own.
They might just surprise us.
10 Ways to Improve Communication with Children
- Recognize and name emotions: “I notice you’re upset.” Is it because Ben snatched the truck from you?” Allows the child to realize that his or her feelings have been heard. Recognizing and responding to feelings-based needs and wants has an impact on a child’s behavior.
- “It appears that you both want the truck,” says the narrator. Instead of saying, “Your brother wants the truck,” let the child know that someone understands him by providing an interpretation. “You would enjoy the truck, but Ben took it away from you,” report the observation. Allow the child to process the issue on his or her own.
- “You wanted the truck, but Ben took it away from you,” reported the observation. Allow the child to process the situation.
- “You said the bike isn’t working,” repeats the “complaint. “In the same vein as the previous two, repeating the complaint not only makes the child feel heard, but it also gives the adult time to consider next steps.
- Inquire – “How is it broken?” “Why isn’t it going away?” “What do you want to happen now? “A question stimulates thought and relieves stress in the brain, allowing for (better) problem solving and decision making. Don’t offer a solution to the problem right away. Allow time for the child(ren) to consider how to solve the problem, offer solutions, and feel capable.
How to Talk to Children So That They Will Listen, Respond, and Learn
- Wait for the Answer – Do not ask a question and then allow the child to run away or become distracted by something. Ask the question and then wait for an answer. If the child flees, reintroduce him into the situation by saying, “I asked XYZ, what is your response?”
- End a Question with a Question – If you ask the child, “Would you like to share the truck with Ben?” and he says, “No,” then follow up with, “How do you think that makes Ben feel?” or “When is Ben going to be able to play with the truck?”
- Model Thinking – We all talk to ourselves out loud from time to time. Modeling thinking is comparable. Say something like, “I believe Ben and Ethan will find a way to solve the problem.”
- Respect children’s wants and needs– Never force a child to share his or her possessions. If he is playing with a truck and his brother takes it away, rather than requesting that he share it, ask him and, if he says “no,” ask him when he might be ready to share his truck. When given the opportunity, children can be very generous.
- Allow for peaceful decision-making – Keep the issue between the children. Assist them in working together to solve the problem. Don’t try to solve it for them.
How to Communicate Effectively with Children
With this approach, you can never start too young. The method necessitates practice and repetition. Even the youngest child, who may not be able to respond verbally, can bring words into his world. He comprehends.