Three easy ways you can help your preschooler develop conversation skills
Communication is one of the most important factors in fostering a good relationship. Here are a few top tips from a local principle, designed to get your kids chatting...
It's up to moms and dads to create opportunities for their young ones to develop their conversation skills. (iStock)
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Parents are encouraged to foster open lines of communication with their kids, but how to start? And when?

According to Andy Bassingthwaighte, Principal at Table View Preschool and Crèche, parent-child communication is best started at a young age, and it's up to moms and dads to create opportunities for their young ones to develop their conversation skills. 

One of the ways parents get this wrong though is in trying to steer the conversation from parent-to-child when it is much more effective for a child to lead the way. 

But how can a child younger than 6-years-old drive the direction of a conversation? 

Here are three super easy methods for opening the lines of communication with your preschooler. 


Also see: Speaking gently: 20 things you should never say to your children

How do you get your preschooler to express themselves? 

Share your tips with us, and we could publish your email. 


1. Repeat statements that your little one makes

What could be simpler? Here is an example: 

James: I painted a picture! Here is the sun! 

Parent: Ah, you painted a picture! And here is the sun! 

Let them lead the way and tell us what they want to tell us, and not what we want to hear. 

2. Make observations about things that your little one is doing

This is how the conversation would go: 

Parent: Ah, James. I see you painted a picture. I wonder how you made all these different colours...

Using open-ended questions and repeating what children say ensures that they are driving the conversation. 

3. Use open-ended questions

Andy says when thinking of open-ended questions to ask your child, try and come up with something that would rule out one-worded answers. 

Here the phrases 'Tell me more'  or 'Tell me about it' work best. 

Parent: James, I see you painted a picture, tell me about it... 

Acknowledging that the process can be somewhat of a struggle at first, she advises that not only does it get easier with time and practise, but is so worthwhile. 

"So often we misinterpret what a child has said or done, but by following the examples above, we allow them the freedom to explain themselves, encourage them to think, and most importantly to lead the conversation in a direction that they would like to go, building their confidence in their ideas!" 

Chat back:

How do you get your preschooler to express themselves? 

Share your tips with us, and we could publish your email. 

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