I want to ask you all, Do we need to be verbal to communicate? I don’t think so, then why stress so much for it. Of course, it’s the most common way of communicating, most of the junta communicates in this mode, but our kids are different so their way of expressing CAN be different.
Now, let’s cut the chase.
I remember seeing “PUSHPAK” movie growing up. I think, most of us might have seen the movie; we have seen, enjoyed “Tom & Jerry”, “Charlie Chaplin”. All of these didn’t have dialogues. Most of the communication was non-verbal. Non-verbal is the foundation of communication, that’s the first stage, a child communicates to his/her parents. The child senses the parent’s expressions and gets an idea of his surroundings.
Next, for any communication to be successful, it has to be in partnership. Most of the time, we talk to our kids in Q&A mode i.e the Imperative language. “What is this”, “Tell me that”, “Say : Bye”. We don’t leave any room for the child to think. But, an authentic or real conversation is mostly experience sharing and using lot of declarative language, else it’s sermon-like or answering a paper filled with Qs.
Now, let’s get to practice :
Non-verbal communication includes
- usage of lot of facial expressions, eye gaze,
- lot of pause (can’t emphasise enough the value of it)
Declarative Language, simply put, is saying out loud, what you are thinking or experience-sharing. “Yumm, I love these soft Idlis”, with lot of eye-wideing and facial expressions showing it. “oh no, I wanted to drink Chai, but we are out of sugar”. Problem solve it by saying everything out loud. Let your child see and notice how we do problem solving in the real-world.
We practice it with –
- Use lot of non-verbal ways of communications,
- communicate to enhance “thinking”
- use experience-sharing
- Model, not instruct
“Look, Daadi is here. Hello Daadi.”, now look at your child as if to expect him to say. Transfer the responsibility to the child. Pause, If child responds, job well done, or if the child even looks at you or Daadi, communication has happened, acknowledge it.
By not giving the exact words for child to say, you are giving a possibility for your child to think.
“Look Beta, Daadi is leaving” , now look at your child, transfer the responsibility. If the child says “Bye” nothing like it, else we simplify it more, give them clues to facilitate thinking. you can say, “I wonder what we say when someone is leaving”, pause, look at your child, no response, it’s alright, we model “aah, when someone leaves we can say “Bye-bye”, “Bye Daadi, see you soon”. and you can invite the child to say Bye simply by looking at him, his response can be verbal or non-verbal (looking at you or Daadi). That’s the foundation you have built. We might have to repeat the same exercise with different set of people few times, but trust me, once the child gets it, we don’t have to instruct anymore. Later on, he will get the other cues too quickly.
So, let’s focus on Declaratives and non verbal communication to get to verbal. Let’s STOP hounding and be partners !!! Let’s redirect ourselves towards building Dynamic thinkers who can problem solve themselves
Creative representation for this blog has been done by our talented CreativeSaathi junior Lavanya Iyer. Non verbal conversation/ communication is depicted through the bond and connection between Radha and lord Krishna.