Tips for a Fruitful & Effective Dialogue with Your Child

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As parents, we need to initiate dialogues with others to express ourselves, feelings, and to alleviate the intensity of our problems. However, this need is not restricted to adults only; children need it from their first months after birth. Dialoguing with your children can guide their behavior, expand their experience, develop their persuasive and negotiations skills, and enable their effective self-expression ability. So, when can we start having a dialogue with our children? Before your child is one year old, he/she starts to understand parents’ gestures. Here, we need to support our dialogues with body movements and facial expressions, and then the child will respond by laughing, crying, or even babbling. After 18 months and until three years, your child will be able to have a short and simple dialogue about his/her day, feelings, and needs. At this point, you should help him/her to choose suitable words and use appropriate methods of self-expression. When your child becomes 4 years, he/she will start to ask more in-depth questions; therefore, you need to listen carefully and answer their questions correctly.   In this article, we offer you several educational methods on how to initiate a dialogue with your child.   Guidance Dialogue: This type is common among children, as it teaches behaviors and ways of performing tasks. This dialogue occurs all day long, and includes questions like: “Why do you face a difficulty wearing your clothes? Do you need any help? Or, “Breakfast is good for your health”, and “Tell me what do you prefer to eat?”   Sympathy Dialogue: Children need this type of dialogue when they face a difficulty or unable to perform an intricate task. In this case, parents may sympathize with their child by trying to offer assistance and advices, such as: “It’s fine… you’ll do it next time”, or “Your friend did not mean to bother you”, “Let’s think how you speak to him tomorrow”.   Reward and Punishment Dialogue: To some extent, this is a serious dialogue where parents praise their child’s good behavior and try to reward him/her. For example, children love to hear words, such as “bravo” or “well done”. On the other hand, parents may speak to their child about the unwanted behavior and explain the consequences that may include an indirect punishment.   Negotiation Dialogue: Parents should master this type when their child is three years. They need to agree on conditions with their child if he/she need his/her demands to be fulfilled. This type of dialogues should be serious and intimate at the same time by telling the child: “We’ll go to your preferred garden, but we need to be back before four o’clock”.   In all these types of dialogues, it is key to maintain a quite intonation and tranquil voice so that your child does not become afraid or stubborn. You should look directly into your child’s eyes and bend a bit to be in your child’s sight level.   Finally, to learn your child’s views, you can always start a dialogue with your him/her even if he/she is watching cartoons, or when a social incident happens at home, or even when you talk with your child you about his/her future plans, body, or even appearance!

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