Butterflies in stomach, sweaty palms, shivers down the spine- well, you would certainly know by now what I am talking about! If you are wondering why your otherwise confident, outgoing child goes in a freeze-mode when all eyes are on her, read further to know ways to make public speaking easier for your child.
Compelling, confident public speaking is a crucial skill that is often overlooked and under-developed in a child’s formative years, yet it can strongly impact how your child views themselves and how they develop and succeed. A self-assured child who can effectively address their classmates or an audience is likely to be seen in a more positive light by their peers and develop a stronger sense of self. Being able to speak confidently in front of a group of people is a valuable skill.
Frankly, aren’t we wired to be impressed by those who can express themselves better? Those children who can’t express themselves effectively are unfortunately left behind.
But as a parent, you can play an active role in assisting your child to survive and even thrive in these pressure-packed situations.
Most of the time we don’t give enough time to the child to respond and jibe in to finish what we intend to say. Now this works as a double sided sword. It not only breaks the flow of thoughts of the child in framing a sentence/response but also breaks the child’s confidence.
A great rule of thumb is to pause for at least 5-10 seconds for your child to answer. It gives your child time to process what they want to say.
Over correcting is the exact opposite way of how to improve communication skills.Â The more you demand they say something right, the worse it may likely get.
Sounds tricky, right? That’s where you need to strike a balance. You need to talk to them as if they are adults but still remember they are children. ‘Talking with them like an adult’ doesn’t mean use adult vocabulary or information they won’t understand. It means take turns, use eye contact, and value what they say.
Don’t talk to them in baby talk all the time. It’s O.K. every now and again, but after they are about 10 months old, try to limit how much you do it.
It’s common among younger children to talk gibberish, which you don’t understand, but again, take your turn, make the best guess about what they are trying to convey and respond accordingly….even if you’re not sure what they’re talking about.
An important component of effective communication is the tone. Show your child that the same set of words can carry different meanings depending on her inflection and presentation. Pick up a phrase like – ” stop, don’t move ahead”. Now have your child say this phrase using different emotions -excitement, fear, shock, or anger, for example — and make up a scenario in which each expression of the phrase could be appropriately used.
Open ended questions are when the answer can be a variety of things and not answered by “yes” or “no”. These questions will teach your child how to think “hard” and reason for themselves.
Here are some examples of how to turn simple questions into open ended ones:
A. Question: Did you go to the store?
Open Ended: Where did you go?
B. Question: Was that book good?
Open Ended: What did you like about that book?
Remember the all-time favourite game of “antaakhshri”? While that was all about thinking of a song on-the-spot, incorporate games like extempore in your routine. Pick up a toy or object and let your child describe it in 1 minute (show & tell). On a road journey, ask your child to speak about a particular car that he spots or describe the weather outside. It’s all about gaining confidence of speaking on random topics.While watching television together, talk about minute things like body language, articulation, expressions etc.
Make the most of daily activities where your child can build his comfort level naturally. For example, the next time your family goes out to eat, encourage him to order his meal from the waiter himself using a loud voice and clear articulation.
This is another one that needs to be balanced. You don’t need to tell your child how great they are talking after everything they say. Space it out. Tell them at least a few times a day. More when they’re younger. When they call something by the right name, say “Nice talking” or “You’re right that is a…” or “You are such a good talker”. For older children, you might compliment them when they use a new vocabulary word. You might say, “Hey, look at you using such a big vocabulary.”
Now, if you ask me when’s the right time to assist your child’s communication skills, I would say the right time to learn any life-skill is N-O-W!
You see, the right time to learn swimming is before you fall in the deep sea. Public speaking is an essential life skill every child needs to learn. If you ever get the right opportunity to pick up this invaluable life-skill from the right person, just don’t wait for the right time! And that would be one of the best investments for your child’s future and he/she will be grateful for your timely guidance.
And one such place that inculcates public speaking in children in a fun and natural way is Dolphin POD. Their carefully curated content and methodology, based on neuro-scientific methods, is aimed at makingchildren smarter, healthier, happier and better equipped to operate in the constantly evolving, ambitious and cohesive society. The pedagogy they follow of Play, Communication and Downtime involve activities and classes that helpchildren develop as confident and smart public speakers.
To know more about Dolphin POD and their philosophy, click here.
Being comfortable talking to others- whether one-on-one or in front of a group- will allow kids to better convey information, appear more confident, and make stronger social connections. And this acquired poise and increased command of public speaking will not only help them in school, but also empower them in any situation they encounter in life.
Source: Go Mommy!