Children Deserve To Be Heard
For many children, walking into a classroom setting can be overwhelming, exhausting, and anxiety-inducing. Each year, many students are often met with experiences that they haven’t had to navigate before and may either lash out or withdraw. While it can be easy to give your child a pep talk before they walk into the class, they may need to practice how to speak up in the classroom and effectively communicate their needs and wants so that their academic and social-emotional school journey is nurtured by self-confidence and healthy communication.
Finding A Place In The Classroom
Before school, children have the opportunity to explore their needs and wants in the comfort of their own homes with their parents there to provide support whenever it is needed. When they are dropped off at their classrooms in the morning, they have to forfeit the comfort that they were so used to in their home and replace it with an entirely new environment or routine. This sudden change can be detrimental to their communication skills as they have to share the attention of the teacher with the rest of their classmates. It can be hard to speak up in the classroom. Therefore, it is important to instill communication methods that will allow your child to confidently ask for what they need coherently and effectively. Practicing these methods at home will guarantee that your child enters the classroom understanding their boundaries and how to work with others. These skills will be critical as they progress through school.
Teaching Healthy Communication
Many tools can be used in your daily home routine that will build your child’s communication skills. Online games, mindfulness exercises, and encouraging proactive communication are three methods that can be used in both the home and school settings. Here is how each will change your child’s life for the better:
- Online Games: Many children are beginning to gravitate towards online spaces, tools, and resources as a way of learning. Using their interests in online spaces can help facilitate healthy communication without them realizing it. Finding games or videos that require your child to think critically about how sentences are presented, what tones are appropriate, and demonstrate productive delivery will help to expand your child’s perception of communication and lead them to be more thoughtful of what words they are using and how they are using them.
- Mindfulness Exercises: Sometimes when a child is in an overstimulating environment, it can be difficult to find the right words to convey their thoughts every single time they are in need. By practicing mindfulness at home, your child will become more self-aware of their likes, dislikes, and how to communicate those thoughts. This means asking your child questions that dig deeper into what they are feeling or why they have certain reactions, ultimately leading to them understanding their emotions and self-regulation on a deeper level. This results in being more decisive in their needs and presenting them accordingly instead of trying to beat around the bush or push their needs under the rug. It can be helpful to build their emotional literacy by checking in daily with how they are feeling using emotion cards or an emotion wheel and where they experience that emotion the strongest in their body.
- Proactive Communication: Parents know how strenuous it can be to teach their children how to use their words before committing to any actions. At their purest form, children are explorers, so trying to get them to think before they act is a crucial tool they will need to keep them out of trouble in the classroom. This means teaching your child to be proactive about their needs or wants and learning how to communicate those feelings before enacting them. Many times children will be labeled as a distraction in class because they act on their impulses, but this simply means that the child needs a clear and appropriate outlet for their thoughts. Teaching your child to be proactive with their questions or concerns in the classroom will lead to a student who is more willing to be responsive in an environment where they feel supported.
Learning Authenticity & Self-Reliance
Every child deserves to feel heard and validated in their classroom. Teaching them clear and effective communication is the first step to them understanding the power that their voice has. If you are struggling with helping your child learn the importance of healthy communication skills, please feel free to bring them into our office where our therapists will explore what makes your child unique and provide tools or resources personalized for their individual needs.