Communication is the ability to exchange ideas and feelings with others both verbally and non-verbally.
The capacity to communicate is the ability and desire to connect with others. Most children learn to ask for what they need, to communicate how they feel and to establish and maintain interaction with adults or other children.
Though the development of communication skills is not the same for every child, there are milestones that we can observe that serve as indicators that the child is making appropriate developmental progress.
Even before a child learns to say their first word, they develop ways to communicate their needs. Communication begins from birth, through sounds, body movement and facial expressions. Children will move from crying and nuzzling to babbling, cooing, squealing and gestures/body movements, moving legs in excitement or distress, and later, gestures like pointing, eye contact, smiling and grimacing; all of these are early methods of communication.
A newborn nuzzles at their mother’s breast, 9-month-old starts attempting simple words and uses pointing or gestures, a 28-month-old starts putting simple sentences together and a 3-year-old chats with parents or caregivers after school and in the playground with their friends.
Some keys to help develop communication skills in children
Respond to your baby’s gestures, looks and sounds, when your child makes a sound or an act of stretching forth the arms to be carried, your response of smiling and picking him up shows that the feelings are important.
Talk with and listen to your child. Talking or engaging in a conversation with your child makes them feel good and knowing you enjoy their company.
Teach your child about non-verbal communication. Actions and facial expressions are other means of communication. Pretend play can really be helpful, e.g. being sad, happy, angry, shy etc.
Respect and recognise your child’s feelings by helping your child to develop a “feelings” vocabulary. Read together and encourage pretend play to help develop communication skills.
Communication development is one vital aspect of child growth. As such parents and caregivers must pay keen attention to observe these communication milestones.
Children are excellent observers and imitators of what they see and hear around them, as such parents and caregivers must be good role models for them to copy.
We at The Little Dreamers Nursery are skilled practitioners who are able to provide a nurturing environment to support children’s language and communication development.
Our trained and experienced educators provide a warm, welcoming and playful environment full of love, attention, respect, and open ears to better understand each and every child; thus making our nursery environment a home away from home.