How to Teach Your Children to Have a Conversation

How do you teach your child the gift of having a conversation?  Isn’t it special to have someone be fully present with you?  To have a conversation with anyone, an adult or a child is something to behold these days…a conversation without distraction.

My most popular topic when teaching business etiquette in the workplace is The Art of the Human Connection. The art of having a conversation, is a lost “art”.  We are so consumed with social media that often we are so buried in it we miss out on so many opportunities.  Often, it is the first request I have from a human resource director to discuss the basic skills of conversation to their team.

Take the time to teach your children how to converse!  Life is fuller when you have this social skill.  You actually become interesting.  A child learns so much about life when he/she hears their parents conversing with others.

5 Tips to Teach Your Children to Have a Conversation

  1. Eye contact: This is a social skill that is so very important.  By making eye contact, it shows someone that you are interested.  It sends a message that you are confident.  Point this out to your child.  Explain why this is important.  Take the opportunity to talk about confidence and how it feels.  Get on their level.  Literally!  Get down on your knees if necessary and make eye contact with them.  
  2. Teach them to listen to others: Another important social skill is to listen. Tell them it is alright for there to be silence when having a conversation.  This is the time to practice sharing-sharing the space to tell ideas and experiences.
  3. Ask questions:  By asking questions, you show others that you are interested in their experiences. Ask your child questions.  Explain to them that you are having a conversation. Try this around the family meal.  You are having family meals aren’t you!
  4. Phone skills:  The Wall Street Journal recently had an article about answering the phone.  Remember when we were growing up and we took messages for our parents?  With smart phones, this most likely is not happening. This was a great way to teach conversation skills.  It is still important for your children to know how to answer a phone and converse.  Practice with relatives.  Turn on your speaker phone so your children can hear your conversations. Below you will find a link to the article.
  5. Read a story.  After reading a story, talk about it with your child.  Did he like the story?  What was his favorite part?  Tell him how you liked or what you learned.

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