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Wednesday, 4 January 2012

All you need to know about communication and kids...

Guest blog post for Vivien Sabel on communication and relationships
Dr Rosina McAlpine, Founding Director of Inspired Children,

We are social beings and connecting with others is at the heart of living a successful, loving and happy life. Imagine what it would be like to not be understood, to not understand others and to have no deep bonds with special people in life. Being able to communicate effectively is a valuable skill for nurturing personal relationships with family and friends and for building professional relationships as well. So good communication skills and the ability to develop key relationships are extremely valuable life skills for any child to develop.

Vivien Sabel’s Blossom Method™ is all about communication. Vivien can help parents develop their own ability to understand and communicate with their baby from day 1. This helps a baby to communicate and connect with its parents providing a great foundation for learning and life. As children mature their vocabulary and their understanding of communication grows. However, as you well know in your own day-to-day activities – effective communication is not easy and having a good understanding of the complexity of social relationships is even more difficult.

Helping your children to develop strong communication skills and to be able to nurture relationships requires more than just trial and error and a simple understanding of the use of ‘manners’ and social ‘protocol’. Communication and social skills need to be continually practiced and developed over time. As is age appropriate, your child’s understanding and skills can become more sophisticated through continual modelling, interaction, experience and most importantly your prompts for reflection, your guidance and your child’s continual development through daily practice.

It is so heartbreaking for a parent to hear the words “I’ve got no friends, nobody wants to play with me” or “I’m sick of being bullied. I hate school”. Yet the reality is that these are daily life experiences for many children. Helping children understand the complexity of social relationships, manage conflict, knowing what it means to be a good friend and developing their communication skills will help them make and keep the right kind of friends and navigate life successfully.

Here are some ideas for how to support your child’s development. Help your child understand that:

• communication is about an exchange and so there are times when they need to listen and there are times when they can speak.

• relationships are complex and often people don’t actually say what they mean and their words don’t match their true feelings or thoughts. It’s helpful to give examples or to point out and reflect on real examples of the complexity of relationships and to invite your child to practice using more than just their ears when they communicate with others. For example, invite them to observe a person’s body language and to learn to trust their instincts when they feel a person is not being truthful with them.

• learning how to cooperate and work in a group as well as understanding when to lead and when to follow are valuable skills. Other social skills include understanding how to avoid unnecessary conflict and how to be a good negotiator.

• by identifying the qualities your children are looking for in a true friend - they are more likely to attract and nurture supportive friendships and avoid unhealthy relationships.

• feeling angry is a normal and natural part of life. Things can go wrong and people can get angry! However, some people take their anger out on others and this can destroy relationships. You can help your children manage and express their anger in a way that does not hurt others. For example, you can model or encourage your children to walk away from a situation when they feel angry and take time out to look at the situation calmly. Once they have some perspective they can discuss what has upset them with more clarity and less emotion.

Helping children develop effective communication skills is essential to help them attract and nurture personal and professional relationships and to live in a productive, harmonious and enjoyable lives.


  1. it is all about communication Rosina and I think this blog post has great ideas how to start and keep communication going. Children really do not understand about the complexities of relationships and we need to help them iunderstand them.

  2. Great blog post. I work with children who become involved in destructive behaviour such as offending. What most of these children have in common is inability to connect with others or themselves on an emotional level and inability to communicate effectively. I agree that the Blossom Method is a marvellous way of communicating better with children from the earliest age possible!

  3. We really have to teach kids effective communication. I look around and see people I know who simply do not know how to say what they feel in a constructive manner. It's because our generation were told to dismiss feelings and never speak about them.

    This has to change.

  4. Thank you for your comments on here so far. As you know I am a firm believer in communication and want to encourage good communication from birth. This blog highlights communication and supports us to help our children to understand more about its value and how wonderful it can be.

    Communication is key!

    I just love this paragraph....

    "Helping children develop effective communication skills is essential to help them attract and nurture personal and professional relationships and to live in a productive, harmonious and enjoyable lives."


  5. You are describing how I was bought up by my parents essentially. I believe that most parenting hurdles can be overcome if you establish good communication throughout kids lives. Excellent stuff :-)

  6. Thank you all for your wonderful input on the ideas I've shared. Best wishes to you all and your families! Dr Rosina

  7. Vivian, I have put the most important resources from 35 years of my research and clinical work on a website with DVD's and valuable informational resources, as well as screening for infants birth to 22 months. All free. My purpose, is to help adults who interact with infants and toddlers learn to enhance and facilitate the development of communication. I agree that communication is the basis for development, relationships, future learning and achievement as well as happiness. This is essential for all people, but critical for infants and toddlers at risk for delays or disorders.