The importance of talking to children

Here at Moretalk, we love spreading the word about the importance of talking to children, and we love when others do too! Here is a great example of a local event, organised by Far North REAP, to share information and ideas to help encourage children’s talking and listening. This awesome mahi was also supported by the Ministry of Education NZ RTLB - Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour Doubtless Bay Kindergarten and more, with a special guest speaker from Brainwave Trust Aotearoa speaking to more than 30 whanau.

Talking to your children sounds easy, but when they are very young, you may find you need to consciously talk to them more (ignoring all the other distractions life throws at you as a parent). Here’s some great tips from Talking Matters Network, a collective of more than 200 practitioners from over 70 organisations from all over New Zealand:

Tips for talking to your children

Tune in to kids – start with what they are interested in.

Talk more often – Talk with them for longer & encourage them to talk; describe everyday things and everyday object. Chat to them about what you and they are doing. Every moment is potentially a talking moment.

Gift children 'juicy' new words – Expand what they know. If the word seems too hard, use it and explain, rather than avoid it.

Encourage them to talk and take turns – Back and forth, 'serve and return' conversations make a big difference. To really develop their brains, children have to participate and contribute as well as listen.

Fewer questions, more comments – Questions don't add knowledge. Gift additional words to build children's understanding of ideas and concepts.

Talk differently – Praise their efforts/ relate to their interests; expand and talk everywhere . This is simple, free and easy. You have the power to make a real difference.

Read books every day – The language in books is different from everyday conversation, and expands their understanding of the world. It is never too early to read to babies. Books also help build the bond between child and reader and help the child get ready for reading when they are older.

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