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Teaching Conversation Skills

conversation​Teaching your children good conversation skills is one of the most helpful and beneficial things you can do for them. Here are some practical, easy-to-use skills you can teach your child and practice together as a family:

To contribute to a conversation:

  • Look at the person who is talking.
  • Wait for a time when no one else is talking.
  • Make a short, appropriate comment that is related to the topic that is being discussed.
  • Choose words that will not offend or confuse others.
  • After you've spoken, give other people a chance to talk.

conversationTo keep a conversation going:

  • Maintain a relaxed but attentive posture.
  • Nod your head to show you understand and to give ongoing encouragement to the person who is speaking.
  • Ask follow-up questions that are related to what another person just said.
  • Avoid fidgeting, looking away or yawning.
  • Don't interrupt when another person is speaking.
  • Take turns speaking during the conversation.
  • Check to see if others understand what you have said.

To close a conversation:

  • Change topics only when everyone appears to be finished talking about a particular issue.
  • Change to a topic that somehow relates to the previous one.
  • Give everyone a chance to talk about the new topic.
  • Wait for a comfortable break in the conversation to leave.

Additional Resources 

  • Making Friends Is an Art! by Julia Cook
  • Why Don't They Like me? by Susan Sheridan, Ph.D.
  • Helping the Child Who Doesn't Fit In by Stephen Nowicki Jr., Ph.D. and Marshall Duke, Ph.D.
  • Teaching Your Child the Language of Social Success by Marshall Duke, Ph.D., Stephen Nowicki, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Martin, M.Ed.

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Kid Tips;Communication Skills