Monday, January 24, 2011

Commenting vs. Questioning ~ Speech Therapy

It is very common for parents to ask their child lots of questions to reassure themselves that their child is listening and understanding, or sometimes just to get a response. However, when you continuously bombard a child with direct questions, you limit their ability to express themselves as you are always in control of the conversation. Children also begin to tune out when they are constantly asked questions and some even become withdrawn, as they dislike being pressured to speak. Excessive questioning often stops the natural flow of conversation and the questions tend to require your child to give only yes/no or one-word answers.

By trying to alter your communication style to include more commenting and less questioning you take the pressure off your child and give them more natural opportunities to communicate with you. By commenting on what your child is doing and then waiting, you create a natural opportunity for your child to respond without pressure. This can initially be very tricky to do if you are used to asking a lot of questions!

Playing with a puzzle
Parent: “what’s that?”
Child: “cat”
Parent: “what’s this?”
Child: “dog”
Parent: “what does the dog say?”
Child: “woof woof”
Parents: “what’s this?”
Child: (ignores yet another question)

Playing with a puzzle
Parent: “oh, dog, you’ve got the dog”
Child: “dog”
Parent: “dog, a big dog, woof woof”
Child: “dog woof woof”
Parent: “yes, dog goes woof woof, put in, put in dog”
Child: “put in”

Try to limit the questions you ask to good questions. A good question can be a powerful conversational hook. It often takes a conscious effort to ask a good question that encourages your child to share his experiences with you. Good questions must be sincere and appropriate to your child’s level. This includes questions that:
* Show your interest and allow your child to lead. For example: “what next?”
* Allow your child to make choices or decisions. For example: “do you want juice or milk?”
* Extend your child’s thinking. For example: “what’s happening?” or “how does it work?”

Information in this handout compiled from: Manolson, Ayala (1992). It takes two to talk: a parent’s guide to helping children communicate. Toronto: The Hanen Centre.
Handed out by the Speech Therapy Department at Northam Regional Hospital.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog, I really appreciate it.

Total Pageviews