One would think that talking with a 2-year-old is simple; you just listen to what he has to say and nod your head accordingly. However, that is not real communication, you just turned yourself into a sounding board for your toddler, you are not really talking with each other. Proper communication with a two-year-old involves the basics, such as:
- Encouraging your child to talk in such a way that they can freely tell you their thoughts and feelings.
- Actually listening to what your child has to say, and then responding in a way that is sensitive to his feelings. You should be open to hearing all kinds of things, not just the good news; your child should be comfortable talking to you about the things that made him angry, embarrassed, sad, or afraid.
- Focusing on your child’s body language and tone of voice and not just listening to the actual words. Taking these little nuances will help you a lot when it comes to fully understanding the things your kid is telling you.
- Taking into account the amount of things the child can understand, and how long his attention span is so you will not sound like you are rambling. Some kids are easily distracted so you need to keep your conversations short, yet productive.
Learning how to communicate with your toddler effectively will also make him want to listen to you when you want to say something to him. You are teaching your kid early on that communication is a two-way street; if he wants you to listen to him, he must be willing to listen to you as well.
Tips to improve the way you communicate with your two-year-old
Set aside time for communicating – There should always be a set time when you and your toddler can talk about anything that you want; family meals are some of the best times for talking.
Talk about anything that is on your minds – You and your child can talk about anything that they did throughout the day. Even mundane topics will do. When the both of you are used to communicating a lot, opening up when a particularly tricky issue suddenly appears.
Be open to talk about anything – No topic should be off limits; allow your child to talk about his feelings, like the things that made him angry, sad, or afraid. This will teach your toddler the difference between talking about anger and actually feeling angry.
Be wary of your child’s body language – You can usually tell just by looking at your child’s body language if there is something wrong, and when you do notice something, try to open up a discussion. For instance, if he seems quiet, ask him “You seem awfully quiet today, did something happen to disappoint you?” If he does not want to talk, don’t force him to, just wait until he does so on his own.
Emphasize the importance of being honest – Encourage your toddler to always be honest with you; teach him to own up to his mistakes and commending him when he does. Also, you need to be always honest yourself.
Nobody said that learning how to talk properly with your toddler is going to be easy. You just need to take things one step at a time, and you will eventually get there.