Help your child speak clearly and confidently.
Some kids are too shy to talk no matter how much you encourage them. Some kids talk too much and end up with a whirlwind of words you just can’t catch up to. Speaking clearly and confidently is a valuable skill that often gets neglected by most, until they step in front of a crowd to give a speech, or sit down for an interview.
Why is it important to get kids speaking confidently at a young age? Kids often find themselves in situations where they need to speak up. Some kids are just too shy and feel that what they have to say has no point, or would irritate other people. They feel too awkward and miss out in sharing valuable input or information. Teachers may misunderstand what the students need or want, and end up providing the wrong information or instruction. This is where it’s important for the student to be confident enough to clear the misunderstanding in a shrewd and tactful way.
They will definitely have fewer things to worry about as well! Being able to speak confidently prevents your child from being mistaken as aloof or unresponsive because they were too nervous to reply to a question and removes the awkwardness in social interactions. Presentations become less stressful and they can focus on getting their facts right instead of feeling too worried about the audience. They are clear and understandable when responding to questions or giving ideas. This is crucial to clinching interviews for job or university applications. It will be devastating to anyone if they are unable to express themselves clearly during such crucial moments!
Here’s some tips to help your child build confidence in their speaking.
Spend time talking to them
Chatting with kids can help boost their self-esteem and make them feel comfortable in speaking. It’s not necessary to sit them down for half an hour to ‘talk’. When you’re having a meal, doing chores together or watching over their activities, get them to tell you about their day or what’s going on in their classes. Teaching them skills such as cooking or sorting laundry provides you an opportunity to explain what you need them to do and why they need to do it. This introduces new concepts and broadens their vocabulary, giving them more ways to express themselves. When you talk to kids, they feel validated, as someone is interested in what they have to say. They will open up and be more willing to share what they feel or think.
Active listening requires work: you need to concentrate on what your child is saying, and respond by asking relevant questions, or affirming their emotions. With kids who talk excitedly, it can be really hard to follow. This however, gives you an opportunity to help adjust how they speak. Get them to slow down, or focus on certain topics first. If you respond to what they are talking about, such as asking for more details, it will motivate them to explain things clearly. Discussing your opinions with them about a certain incident or topic can also boost their confidence. If they make a mistake, wait for them to be done before correcting them. Getting corrected can break their train of thought, leading to a frustrating conversation, which may make them feel that there is no point talking.
Roleplay or present different scenarios
If your child has difficulties starting conversations or maintaining one, you can also roleplay with them. It can be an interesting and funny activity. Give examples on how to start conversations and have lighthearted exchanges. Sometimes, they may also encounter serious or awkward situations in real life. Try to explain how different people may feel in certain situations. For instance, your best friend may not care at all if you told them they had chocolate on their face, but someone easily embarrassed would not appreciate being told out loud! Giving them different roles to play and suitable responses not only teaches them how to handle conversations politely, but also builds empathy.
Get them to perform
Practising speaking and story-telling definitely helps boost their confidence too. Get them to tell stories before bedtime. They can start from reading aloud and then moving on to coming up with their own stories! A small audience they’re familiar with helps the child feel more at ease. They’ll be able to freely stretch their creativity and communication skills, while also improving their vocabulary and structure for descriptions. Switch it up with them talking about their day if they can’t come up with a story, or turn it into a weekly project with themes such as aliens or animals to get them researching as well. Another way to expose them to speaking before an audience is to have some family members give a short speech during special occasions, such as what they’re thankful for on birthdays, or share funny memories. Get them to join in and provide their input and share some of your own.
Point out their body language
Children who have difficulty speaking may also not be able to read body language of listeners or speakers. Eye contact is a very good example: those who lack confidence avoid maintaining eye contact when speaking. Besides showing nervousness, this prevents them from reading expressions as well. Get your child to stand tall when speaking to someone and show them examples of why body language is important. Scenarios such as presentations or giving a speech would require a different body language than when talking in a classroom. Teaching them how to stand and gesture their hands can prevent them committing a faux pas when they need to be more formal, like when they’re giving a speech.
Encourage social interaction
Kids who have trouble maintaining friendships can end up with self-esteem problems. Try to encourage them to make friends and interact with their classmates or peers. They will be able to talk to many different people who, while having different opinions, can understand them better than we might. Provide social opportunities for them, but don’t take over the task of making friends. Let them create and maintain friendships on their own. Usually, they can click pretty quickly when they find someone with similar interests. Do take note on who they are talking to, though. Keeping track of their friendships can give you topics to talk about with your child, and also keep them safe.
Schools place a lot of emphasis on written work and projects. Some teachers do not encourage students to discuss topics during class because it may hamper the progress of the lesson or distract other students. Although kids do speak to their friends, there is still a need for them to practice, just like how they would need to practice writing for different purposes, even though they text other people often. Speaking clearly and confidently is still undoubtedly a key component for students to excel in top schools and universities.
StarWorks is a great class for your child to practice their speaking skills! Our experienced tutor is here to help any student open up and express themselves. Besides critical reading and thinking, students get to present their views on meaningful, age-relevant topics and discuss their ideas with the teacher and their peers. Join us today, and soon, they’ll be able to speak with ease and confidence!