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Communicating effectively is a vital skill that everyone ought to polish – the better it is, the better our quality of life will be. Communication starts from birth as we alert our mothers and the world to our arrival with our first cry. It is pertinent that as children grow, we nurture their communication skills so that they are able to express themselves with clarity and confidence.

The stages of children’s development show that they first communicate with their parents, then with their siblings and friends and finally with other individuals such as teachers. Inadvertently, children learn to communicate by watching and listening to you, mimicking your words and actions. Parents who communicate often with their children from young help them develop these skills sooner and more quickly.

One way to improve your children’s communication proficiency is by inculcating a habit of reading. Reading to your children from young helps foster language development by introducing a wide range of vocabulary, helping them communicate with ease. Reading together with your child in their growing years provides them with an excellent avenue for discussion, allowing them to learn to articulate their ideas effectively and confidently.

Another way to improve your children’s communication skills, along with their social and interpersonal skills, is through ample interaction and playtime with siblings, relatives and friends. Playtime with children their age will make them feel more at ease in social situations, allowing them to easily strike up conversations and make new friends. Through these relationships, your children can sharpen their listening skills, learn to be empathetic and acquire the ability to interpret non-verbal communication cues.

When your children begin their schooling journey, they will learn to improve their verbal communication skills through regular classroom activities like discussions, presentations and oral exams. By the time they complete their primary schooling and enter secondary school, it is vital that they are confident to speak in front of a crowd, make new acquaintances and are able to converse fluently, thus creating a good impression.

A child who excels at verbal communication will produce written assignments with ease, and naturally perform better at school. Looking ahead, it is essential to be able to effectively communicate with employers regardless of the chosen industry or career. One of the most sought-after skills in almost every job is excellent communication skills, which will surely be an added advantage amongst their peers or colleagues in the competitive working world.

Like any other skills, communication skills can be nurtured, developed and sharpened with practice. Helping your children develop good communication skills from a young age will equip them with the essential tools they need to build a successful future.