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The ability to communicate effectively means that a child is able to connect with others by exchanging ideas and expressing their feelings. Communication can come in two forms which are verbal and non-verbal. When children learn to communicate, they will have the ability to express what they need or to establish an interaction with their loved ones. From birth, children have started to communicate. They might use sounds, facial expressions or body movements as a start and they will develop their communication skill as they grow older.

Below are some ideas that parents can adopt in order to enhance the child’s communication skills.

1) Respond to gestures, facial expressions and when they get vocal. These instant and affectionate reactions can help your child to improve their communication skills.

2) Communicate and listen to your children more. Make it a practice to always ask your children about their day. Active listening and communicating with your child will encourage them to share and speak out more. It is also a good way to increase communication between parents and children.

3) Help them build on their language skills. Once in a while, it is good to play little games with your kids to help them work on their language development. For instance, when you are in a car, play games like ‘I spy’. Another way to help them develop their language is to ask them to describe the things around them with gestures and sounds.

4) Help them understand non-verbal communication. Facial expressions and body gestures provide non-verbal cues of what a person is feeling or thinking. Teach your kids how different body movements can convey clear emotions.

5) Respect and recognise your child’s feelings. Parents should let their kids know that it is okay to be who they are even when their views or feelings differ from yours. Respect them without judging, teasing or criticising them. By doing so, your child will feel more comfortable to open up to you about anything.

6) Read together. At the age of 6 months or younger a child can already appreciate a good book, especially if it is full of vibrant colors. Books help kids in character building, comprehension, object definition, alphabet and number familiarisation and many more.

7) Encourage pretend play. Children are more expressive and imaginative when they pretend play. Pretend play also means make believe, which is a form of play that includes role-playing. Not only that, pretend play helps your child understand the power of language as it would help them understand that words give us the means to act out situations.

8) Be a good role model. Children often mirror their parents’ behavior. If your child sees you treating others with kindness and respect, they will most likely follow your tone and manner as they become more verbal.