New Year good communication habits

Amongst consuming an abundance of food, opening presents, returning some of them (!) and watching Christmas movie after Christmas movie, this time of year often keeps us occupied in one other way; thinking about our new years resolutions.

In fact it’s hard to get through the last and first month of the year without someone asking you what you are going to change.

Plunging in to the new year with a whole list of things to change can be disheartening and often unrealistic!  Not to mention; change can be hard and sometimes change can take a long time.

Food for thought

At this time of year we can quite literally have enough on our plates to even contemplate piling them up higher. Hats off to you if you did shed that half a stone or visit your  in laws more. If you can do it then go for it. But let’s face it, we are already doing so may things well, why not focus on what we are already getting right and perhaps fine tune and increase the frequency?

This sounds more like a recipe for success. Don’t you agree?

Resolve to reflect

So when it comes to supporting  communication, you probably know of and  are no doubt using some great strategies. You may have picked these up on our previous blogs. Sometimes all we need is a little reminder .

Picking a couple of things and making them a habit is key. Take a few minutes to think about what you already do successfully, that could be optimized with a revisit. Write these down or tell someone about them. For some more inspiration, look at the list below:

6 New Year Communication Habits

  1. Reduce questions and increasing comments. This is a great one for taking the pressure away from child to talk. Comment on the world around you, books or simply on the task at hand e.g. “ you are building a really big colourful tower”
  2. Wait ten seconds for a response. This seems like a really long time but you will be surprised!
  3. Model back correct language. This not only demonstrates to your child that you were listening to them, but provides a good language model for them to copy. E.g child: ‘Put the presents down the tree!’. Adult: ‘ yes let’s put the presents at the bottom of the tree”
  4. Acknowledge the message rather than its accuracy. When your child has made and error but you understand what they have said, continue the communication exchange and respond appropriately. This will ensure that communication remains motivating and that your child doesn’t become frustrated and give up.
  5. Reduce background distractions.  Take time where you can and focus on just the conversation. Turn off the TV and put the phone in silent.
  6. Provide feedback– comment on what you are pleased with e.g. ‘ I really like it when you use your words/ talk in sentences/remember your ‘p’ sound). Be sure to tell your child why e.g “ it helps me to understand/,it lets me know what you want” . This might also work for other things too e.g. “ I like it when you clean your room, it makes it look so pretty,”

Try using your useful strategies a few times a day or in a set 15 minute focused time. Think about where you would like to start. How often can you focus on using communication support strategies?. Can you focus every day at a particular time? Perhaps during breakfast or bath time? Maybe it suits your lifestyle better to put 15 minutes aside for this daily or perhaps focusing on it at the weekend is a good place to start?

Reflections rather than resolutions

Wherever you start, think about what has worked well for you and your family over the last year? What things have you already started doing that you can fine tune and perfect?

So enjoy those fully loaded plates of food, unwrapping gifts and watching the old traditional movies. And from all of us here at Iris Speaks, enjoy reflecting!

Written by Carolyn Fox, Children’s Speech and Language Therapist

Related articles:

Practical takeaways for a Speech Error

The Iris Speaks Free Guide to the Ultimate Speech Strategies E-book

How to tell if your child has verbal dyspraxia