The Silent Child… How Can We Encourage Them to Express Themselves?

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When children speak their first words, the entire family rejoices. Sometimes, however, certain children tend towards silence at day care or at home, with no known reason, and everyone begins to describe them as a mute or silent child.

Should the parents worry about what’s happening? And how should we encourage children to express themselves?

 

First, in conjunction with the pediatrician, be sure that your child is content and happy, communicates with others, expresses what they want without words, and isn’t experiencing any psychological crisis.

If you’re not sure about this, you should take a close look at what sometimes makes them withdraw into silence as a different means of expressing their worry or whatever they’re going through.

If you’re sure there are no buried psychological motives or communication difficulties behind their new silence, we advise you to take the following steps:

 

  • Always keep talking to your child, and deliberately choose topics that interest them; this strategy would encourage them to express themselves.

 

  • When you want to get their attention and motivate them to speak, focus your conversations with them on things that stir their curiosity and on what’s happening in their little world.

 

  • Be simple in your expressions and words, and keep your language close to your child’s level of understanding so they feel able to interact verbally with what they hear.

 

  • Always talk to them calmly, and raise your tone when you need to focus in on expressions you consider important; this way, they will be encouraged to participate in the discussion or answer questions you direct to them.

 

  • Be silent for a second while you talk to leave them space to think about what you’re saying and prepare what they’ll say rather than feeling they’re facing a verbal “onslaught” with no cease-fire and no ability to communicate.

 

  • When your child speaks, silence usually gives their words all the attention they need because it allows them to lead you toward subjects that interest them.

 

Finally, know that asking simple questions is the most effective way to encourage speech, provided that the questions don’t feel like an interrogation and reflect your interest in what they say and what’s going on in their little world.