Learning to effectively communicate is something that they we develop over time, and may continue to develop over the duration of our life. From a young age this begins with the basics of language development, understanding body language and facial expressions, and learning to express oneself clearly and appropriately. By age two, most children will be able to put two word sentences together, and this increases to three to four word sentences by the age of three. By four years they should be communicating in sentences with around five words that can be understood by anyone.
For some children, this can take a bit longer or be more difficult than for others who are the same age. It may cause them difficulties within their relationships, and can affect their ability to succeed in school.
Some of the common communication problems in children can include:
- Speaking clearly and correctly
- Speaking fluently without stuttering
- Using correct words and grammar
- Being able to express what they’re thinking or what they want
- Understanding what others are saying
- Recognising other’s emotions and intentions
If any of these are ongoing and cannot be changed through your own attempts, may be indicative of a more significant problem that requires professional help. There may be an underlying condition causing communication difficulties, such as hearing problems or dyslexia, or it may just be a delay in their learning in which they need a bit of extra support in order to excel.
Communication difficulties are not only common in young children, but can occur as reach adolescence as well. You may notice that your child is not communicating effectively at home and you have increased conflict between each other. They may be getting into trouble over the things they have said at school, or they may simply be extremely withdrawn and lacking any interest in communicating with anyone. It may seem like anything you say is causes them to shut down, or to explode in an outburst.
Of course, during this age of drastic changes, growth and increasing independence – these behaviours are expected and completely normal to some extent. However, if they have become so extreme that it is beginning to have a negative impact on their relationships, school or emotional wellbeing, it may be beneficial to get some professional support.
Many of the psychologists at VCPS are experienced in working with young children and adolescents specifically, and are specialised in building trust, getting them to open up and in working with them to implement changes. They can also bring you and your child together to express any concerns or challneges openly, and start to break down any relationship or communication break downs.
Some ways that they can do this include:
- Identify where the communication challenge lies and what is contributing to it
- Teach appropriate communication skills
- Put these skills into practice both within and outside of the session