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How to improve your child's communication & reasoning skills using questioning.

"Now I know why yesterday was Mothers' Day!" Piqued my little 4 years old with a smile on her face as she looked from my hands to my face (I was sanitizing their face shields for school).

"Why?" I asked (I try not to miss such opportunities and will share the reasons for such intentionality in a bit :) )

"Why?" I asked (I try not to miss such opportunities and will share the reasons for such intentionality in a bit :) )

"Because you care for everyone". She announced still smiling. That spread a warm surge through my momma heart.

Beyond the pricelessness of that word to a mother on a Monday morning, I was once again reminded about how much we miss out in accessing the strong reasoning skills young children possess and how as adults, we can stay tuned in to them, asking them the right questions that expand their reasoning and language skills.

If you are a parent raising toddlers or preschoolers (even though it can be applied to all children with some age appropriate modifications), your child's language and reasoning skills can applying these 2 principles from studies in brain science and language development in young children.

  • Tuning in: being intentional to tune in to what your child is saying is a great listening skill that helps you process, understand and respond to your child meaningfully. It also tells your child that what they are saying is important and encourages them to talk to you more.

  • Questioning: asking questions with the intention to "understand" not "test knowledge" puts you in a relaxed, helper mode that has a positive impact on your child. When you listen to "test", your response most times is judgmental and trying to compare your child's skills with other children their age. However, when you listen to "understand" you are automatically stepping into the situation with your child to see what the gaps are and how you can add to their knowledge about what they are saying or better express their idea.


How you ask your child questions is also as important as your reason (why) for asking. Using open-ended questions gives your child a vehicle to be more expressive. Closed-ended questions on the other hand shutdown their expressiveness.

So, if you are looking at getting your child to be more expressive and grow their problem solving skills, you have to be intentional in asking questions about why they think something is the way it is, the reason behind a comment they just made, or ask them to simply tell you more about XYZ that they are interested in.

Like I said, this works for all children but comes in very handy for parents who are looking at ways to improve their child's language and cognitive processing skills.

So this week, be intentional in tuning in to your child's communication attempts, ask open ended questions and, with as few words as possible help your child close the knowledge/language gap if need be.

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