Parent-Child Communication

Communication skills in practice- Cantonese version with English subtitle only

Heading: Communication Skills in Practice

Miss Siu: Effective parent-child communications are “two-way” and interactive. We shall show you four skills that can encourage children’s participation. The first skill is “Face to Face”. We shall see how the following parents change position according to their children’s height to get the effect of “face to face”.

Scene: Father Ah Kin kneels down on the floor mat, plays with the stacking rings and talks to his baby.

Ah Kin: “woo” ……“woo”……

Miss Siu: This father kneeled down on the floor so his son could see his expression clearly.

Ah Kin: You put this one down, right!

Sub-heading: Face to Face

Scene: Mom Ah Shan and baby Alvin are at school bus station.

Ah Shan: Alvin, you want to play with your sister’s school bag?

Scene: Mom Ah Shan picks up Alvin and talks to Alvin face to face.

Miss Siu: This mother used another approach. She lifted her son up before speaking to him. She can see his facial expression clearly.

Ah Shan: Sister carries her school bag and this small one is for you.

Sub-heading: Face to Face

Scene: Ah Kin holds Yau Yau’s hand and walks into a fruit shop together with Ah Ying. Ah Ying picks up an orange.

Ah Ying: Yau Yau, here are the oranges you like!

Scene: Ah Kin squats down, picks up a bunch of bananas and talks to Yau Yau face to face.

Ah Kin: Right! It smells good!

Miss Siu: This father squatted down to speak to her so they could see each other. You see how happy they were.

Miss Siu: The second skill is “Allow the Child to Lead”. Let us see how the parents first observe their children then follow their interest and play together.

Scene: Mom Ah Ying and baby Yau Yau sit on floor mat at home and play with toys.

Ah Ying: Baby, shall we play this one? Come on, “woo”, baby, you try this.

Miss Siu: The mother planned to play the ring with her daughter but she preferred playing a ball so the mother changed to play the ball with her!

Ah Ying: Throw, throw it, throw, throw it.

Miss Siu: Mother also taught her the verb “Throw”.

Ah Ying: Roll away! The ball rolls away!

Miss Siu: And said “The ball rolls away!” to describe the scene.

Sub-heading: Allow the Child to Lead

Scene: Father Ah Kin, mom Ah Ying and baby Yau Yau are in fruit shop. Yau Yau touches banana with her hands.

Ah Kin: It tastes great!  

Miss Siu: In this video, the daughter was interested in banana so the father followed her interest, showed her the banana and encouraged her to smell it.

Ah Kin: Banana! It smells great! Its yummy, do you want to taste it?

Miss Siu: When he knew her daughter was interested in banana, he took this opportunity to introduce vocabularies related to banana too.

Miss Siu: The third communication skill is to “Talk about What Is Happening”. While playing, the parents take opportunity on what they are doing and use actions and words at the same time. Let us see how they do it!

Scene: Father Ah Kin sits on floor mat, gives a toy duck to a child.

Ah Kin: Hold the ducky, ducky, put it down. Here is a hole that can be put through. You can try.

Miss Siu: This dad and his son were playing stacking rings. When he held a ducky up, he said “ducky”. When he taught his son to put down the ducky, he talked while he demonstrated: “Here’s ducky, put it down!”, “Here is a hole, you can try!” to help the child understand what he was doing!

Sub-heading: Talk about What Is Happening

Scene: Father Ah Kam, mom Ah Kay and baby Chun Chun are waiting for an elevator. Chun Chun tries to press elevator button. Ah Kam squats down and talks to Chun Chun face to face.

Ah Kam: Chun Chun, do you want to press this?

Scene: Chun Chun nods her head, father Ah Kam picks Chun Chun up and shows Chun Chun of him pressing the elevator button.

Ah Kam: Chun Chun, it will glow up that’s a light button, you can press it!

Scene: Chun Chun stretches out her arm and presses the elevator button.

Miss Siu: When the father knew that his daughter would like to press the elevator button, he pressed the button and said something related such as: “A light! It will glow!”.

Sub-heading: Talk about What Is Happening

Scene: Father Ah Kin, mom Ah Ying and baby Yau Yau are in the fruit shop. Yau Yau picks up a lemon. Ah Kin squats down.

Ah Kin: This is a lemon, it’s sour. Yau Yau, do you like it? Lemon, lemon is sour. Do you like it? “um”.

Miss Siu: In this video, the father knew that the daughter was interested in lemon so he took this opportunity to teach her the name of the fruit and the characteristics of lemon.

Miss Siu: The fourth skill is “Respond More and Praise More”. Let us see how the following parents use simple words to respond and praise their children, so as to increase their interest to participate.

Scene: Mom Ah Shan and baby sit on floor mat and play with the cooking set.

Ah Shan: Let’s put this in, okay? Put it down, put it down, right! Well done!

Miss Siu: The mother was playing cooking set with her child, she guided him how to put the food inside the cooker. When the child followed her act she would praise his attempt.

Sub-heading: Respond More and Praise More

Scene: Father Ah Kin and baby sit on floor mat and play with the stacking rings.

Ah Kin: Put it in! Right! Wonderful!

Miss Siu: When the father and the child played stacking rings, he praised his child for his attempt all the time.

Ah Kin: Come on, put it in, put it in. Don’t you want to play this? How about this one?

Miss Siu: Later, the child became impatient and screamed, the father guessed he was not interested in stacking rings so he voiced out his thought as a response to the child “Don’t you want to play this?” and suggested another way to play “How about this one?”.

Miss Siu: We have just seen how to use each of the four parent-child communication skills. Next, I shall demonstrate to you how to combine these skills together when playing with children.

Scene: Miss Siu, a child and mom sit on a floor mat and playing with a toy food and a knife.

Sub-heading: Face to Face

Miss Siu: See what else auntie has to cut. You see, what is it? What is it? It’s bread.

Child: Bread.

Miss Siu: Bread, shall we cut the bread? Yes!

Child: Yes!

Sub-heading: Talk about What Is Happening

Miss Siu: Okay! Let’s cut, cut. Take the knife. Hold it, hold the knife, hold it. Hold the bread. One, two, three, cut. Ouch! Ouch! So hard! Cut! Cut!

Miss Siu: It’s done! Cut again! Well, ready, one, two, three, cut…… Oh! Cut…… Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! So hard. Ouch! It’s done!

Sub-heading: Allow the Child to Lead

Miss Siu: One more, yes! Let’s do it again. Let auntie hold it! Cut……Cut…… Ouch! Ouch! Not yet, try again, let auntie help you. Cut…… It’s done! It’s done!

Scene: Miss Siu and another child sit on floor mat and play with a toy teapot.

Miss Siu: There’s a sound, let’s open it!

Sub-heading: Respond More

Scene: The child gives the toy teapot to Miss Siu.

Miss Siu: Want auntie to open it, right? Auntie opened it. Auntie opened it, opened it, opened it!

Sub-heading: Talk about What Is Happening

Miss Siu:  It’s a strawberry. Cover it, put the cover on! It’s gone, it ran away! Put it in, put it in. Oh!

Sub-heading: Praise More

Scene: Miss Siu and the child are clapping hands to show praise.

Miss Siu: Well done, yes, well done!

Sub-heading: Common problems while communicating with child – How to talk about what is happening?

Miss Siu: Talking about what is happening will benefit the children’s development. Parents may ask how they can do it.

Scene: Miss Siu, children and mom sit on floor mat and play with toy food and knife.

Miss Siu: Wow! There is a fish! You see!

Sub-heading: Describe Child’s Action

Miss Siu: In fact, we can use action and words at the same time, for example you can describe what the child is doing.

Miss Siu: Fish, goo…goo…goo…goo…goo…goo… Break it. Ouch, it’s broken!

Sub-heading: Describe Your Own Action

Miss Siu: And your own action.

Miss Siu: Let’s get a knife to cut it, okay? See whether auntie has a knife. Take the knife and cut. Okay, let Auntie stick it together, stick it together. Then let me place a chopping board here. Get ready, one, two, three.

Sub-heading: Wait and Allow Child to Response

Miss Siu: Remember, you have to wait and allow her to response.

Miss Siu: It’s separated! Hold it. Do you want to stick them together…… Stick them together? Stick together, stick together, okay! Let us stick them together, stick them together.

Miss Siu: In this way the child can have the opportunity to take turn and response.

Miss Siu: One, two, three, cut.

Sub-heading: Common problems while communicating with child – What to do if the child loses interest after playing for a while?

Miss Siu: Parents may also ask what they can do if the child loses interest after playing for a while. First, we should check whether the toy or game we’ve chosen suits the child’s ability. Too difficult or too simple ones will decrease the child’s interest. If they are suitable we can try the following ways to attract their interest, for example, by making some noise.

Sub-heading: Attract Child’s Interest by Making Noise

Scene: Miss Siu and children sit on floor mat and play with a toy teapot, make noise by banging and shaking the toy teapot to attract child’s interest.

Miss Siu: Pull it, open it! Here, here, look here! Open it!

Scene: Miss Siu, another child and a mom sit on floor mat, play with a toy fish and a toy teapot.

Miss Siu: Wow! Here is a fish, you see!

Sub-heading: Attract Child’s Interest by An Action

Miss Siu: An action.

Miss Siu: Goo…goo…goo…goo…goo…goo… Fish, goo…goo…goo…goo…goo…goo…Break it. Ouch! Take the knife, take it, cut it. Cut here, cut it. Wow!

Sub-heading: Use a Different Way to Play

Miss Siu: Use a different way to play a toy. For example: a toy teapot, apart from pretending to make tea with it. We can also use it as a box for putting things in and taking things out in order to arouse children’s interests.

Miss Siu: Oh! See, what is it?

Miss Siu: If you noticed that the child has lost his interest or even tired of the game. Don’t push him!

Miss Siu: Alright! Let’s stop here!

Sub-heading: Realistic Expectation

Miss Siu: Fostering children to grow up is full of joy and challenges. Each of them has different abilities and pace in development. Some children may be more mature in certain areas but slightly behind in others. Parents need to understand and accept there are individual differences in children and they may progress differently. Sometimes, even if you have nurtured your child with effective methods His performance may not progress as you expected. If you still have doubts about your child’s performance, you can seek professional advice from Maternal and Child Health Centre or other medical staff. In conclusion, as long as you follow the children’s learning pace and guide them patiently, they will grow up happily in a relaxing atmosphere.

Children are still self-centred and lack in verbal expression ability at this stage. Your child may seem to ignore your instructions if you give instructions to him without taking into account his interest. Effective communication skills will be needed to achieve two-way interactive communication with your child.

Effective skills Remarks
Stay face-to-face You can bend down or sit on the floor to adapt yourself to your child’s height.
Let your child take the lead Follow your child’s interest and he will be more willing to communicate with you.
Talk about things happening within your child’s sight Describe names, the use or properties of objects and actions of people at anytime, anywhere to your child to enhance his language and cognitive development.
Respond and praise Respond to your child’s sounds, expressions and actions by imitating or guessing his meanings. Praise any of your child’s responses.