Many parents do ask questions relating to communicating with children. They wonder what.to speak with children; how to communicate with children electively and at what age do parents need to start talking to their children. These all are pertinent questions parents and teachers should ask. In this article, we will discuss different levels of communication and what to communicate with children.

Communication at an Early Age

Infants do not understand much of what the adults say. Children from 7 to 12 months babble, later their babbling expands to include sounds of spoken languages and later to sounds of the child’s language. The best way to communicate with them is to use pre-verbal gestures such as pointing, showing, touching, and so on. These groups of children discover new things every day as they sleep and wake; eat and drink; crawl and take a few steps. They may not know that God created the sun, moon, stars and other things around them. They only depend on their parents and other adults around them to give them the necessary and helpful information they need to grow.

At this age, it is important to talk with children about their environment, especially nature or creation in general. Walking in the night during moonlight gives opportunity to parents to teach the little ones about the moon. Even while the baby is on your back, you can say, “John, look at the moon. God made the moon. “And repeat the word “moon” several times. You can do it for other objects the same way depending on where you are and What you are doing, Children of this age love action words and objects. As a result, talk to them whether they respond to you or not.

Most children say their first word between the age of 13 and 18 months. A child of two is capable of using 50 to 200 words. Infants are good at listening to you and later after you have forgotten what you have said, they will echo it. So, do not mind whether they can respond to you verbally or not. Parents and teachers can talk to infants about God, Jesus, nature, the Bible, family members, self and others. Let them know from infancy things you do not want them to do. Talk to them about dangers around them and provide adequate security for them. They are lovers of music though they cannot sing, so sing to them

Communication at the Preschoolers Level

Preschoolers of three, four and five years of age can speak very well. At three a child should be able to say his/her name and short sentences. As a parent say their name and let them repeat it after you, like my name is Bolu. If you do not do this, the child may find it difficult to say his/her name to other people who ask him/her. At four, the child has become an expert in communication. He/she talks too much, asking questions that baffle most adults. John’s grandpa died a few months ago and was buried in their compound.

One day, he said to his father, “Daddy, let’s go to grandpa. I know where he is. “Another four-year-old girl went to the adult church one Sunday and after the service, she asked her mother, “Mummy, Jesus was not in the church today. I looked very well but I did not see Him. “All the so-called wired questions children ask should give adults opportunities to talk to them. But instead of talking and explaining things to children, many adults shun them and tell them to keep their mouths shut. At five, a child’s vocabulary is between 300-10,000 words. The child can speak fluently expressing himself or herself. Parents and teachers should speak to this age group through interaction, concrete objects, action words and play. For example, “There goes a dog. Can you bark like a dog? Funke’s dog has two colours. Do you remember the colours?”‘Let us go and cook for you help me wash the rice. Rice and preschoolers may include made-ups happening around them. Creation stories are an avenue for meaningful conversation with preschoolers.

Communicating with Younger Children

Children of six, seven and eight are becoming a little bit more mature than preschoolers. They are in line between fantasy and reality-like magic and tricks. They enjoy special friends, secret languages and passwords. They are also beginning to think in abstract terms. They can understand what love is and express it to parents and friends through sharing. They ask questions about many things happening around them. They ask about God, what heaven looks like, and the people who are supposed to go to heaven.

They can ask questions such as, why do people have to grow old? Why do we need to die? and so on. This is a good time to tell children of this age about salvation and what Jesus did on the cross. We can talk to them about immediate and extended family members. You can say, “John is your cousin, he is the son of my brother who lives in Abuja. “We can tell them about events, people and places. We can tell them about creation stories relating to seas, oceans, plants, animals, reptiles and man. Parents should teach them about morals and behaviour and God’s love for man.

Communication with Older Children

Children of nine, ten, eleven and twelve see themselves as adults. Girls Are preparing to be more mature in all respects. Some will start menstruating while the boys are reaching puberty. This group of children likes riding a bicycle, playing soccer, fixing puzzles and games, and even computer games. Parents can discuss with these children based on their interests and ability. There is a lot we need to tell this group of children. Teach them the love of God, moral instruction, and sex education; teach them how to show respect and build up self-image teach them study skills and how to live successfully in our evil society. Parents and teachers can also share their life experiences with children. Do not only tell them the good side of the story alone tell them both your good and bad experiences of life. There are some ways we can communicate clearly to children.

Story Telling: Children of all ages love stories whether made up or real. Parents can start talking to their children as they tell those old stories. Stories of animals such as tortoises and other animals, snakes, rabbits and chickens, animal festivals, and so on are good and interesting to children. Tell them some stories you were told when you were young too. Some stories come with little songs and clapping while some are like riddles. Stories make children listen and ask questions. It helps children develop vocabulary and communication skills.

Music: Singing is an important way of communication, especially with children. Children love to sing. Singing to infants makes them want to hear more as they pay close attention to the sound of the music. Some of them will stop crying when they hear people sing around them. Pre-schoolers love songs with actions. We can communicate our minds to them as we teach them new and short songs. Parents and teachers can compose quick songs for preschoolers based on the child’s everyday activities or mood, like:

I love mummy, mummy loves me

I love Daddy, Daddy loves me

I love Jesus, and Jesus loves me too.

Grown-up children also love to sing. They can even compose songs on their own. They listen to recorded songs on tapes and CDs. Parents can start a conversation by talking about an interesting song and the producer.

Games and Activities: Children communicate well when they play games and involve themselves in different activities. Games help them to keep rules. It helps them to think deeply before action. Parents and teachers should allow children to play on their own and they can also play with the children. During games and other activities, it is easier to communicate with children. Some traditional games such as “Hide and Seek”, “Who is in the Garden” and “Lion and the Goat”, are longtime favourite games. Some improved ones are Draft, Ludo, Snake and Ladder, Scrabble, and so on.

Bible games as well as computer games and toy games, are available and can be purchased for children: When playing games with children, follow the timetable for the day. If not so, children may use the time they are supposed to study to play. Parents who use the above methods can communicate anything with their children without much struggle.

Conclusion

God wants us to communicate with the children through teaching, giving instruction, nurturing and training in godliness. The words teach, train, nurture, and instruct are effectively used where good communication exists, Talking to children and listening to them bring parents and children, to a level of understanding and growth. As a result, we should pass on the necessary information that will make a child grow healthy and experience childhood with love, confidence and the fear of God