Everyday conversations are opportunities to help your child learn new words. Talking with you each day provides time to practice good manners. Talking together about the world around you builds your child’s listening and speaking skills.
- Explain the rules for polite conversations
Talk about manners people expect, such as waiting for the other person to finish their sentence, saying “Excuse me” when interrupting, and making requests using the words such as please and thank you.
- Stay on topic
Help your child expand her ideas on a topic by asking follow-up questions. Repeat what you talked about at the end of a conversation, such as “We talked about so many ideas about the zoo during lunch today. You remembered seeing elephants, lions, and penguins at the zoo.”
- Model active listening
Rephrase what your child says and add to his ideas to extend the conversation. Look into your child’s eyes and stop what you are doing so he can see that he has your full attention. Help your child learn to take turns and listen to others’ ideas.
- Encourage good listening
Encourage your child by pointing out ways to help someone know that they are listening carefully, such as standing or sitting still and making eye contact with the speaker. Encourage her to ask her friends questions and then listen to their ideas.
Related IEL Resources
- Tip Sheet: Encouraging Child-to-Child Conversation
- Tip Sheet: The Gift of Words: Conversation and Routines
- Tip Sheet: Learning by Listening to Language
Related Web Resources
Setting(s) for which the article is intended:
- Family Child Care
- Parents / Family
- Teachers / Service providers
Age Levels (the age of the children to whom the article applies):
- Preschoolers (Age 3 Through Age 5)