With many parents now ‘homeschooling’ due to the current climate, one aspect of a child’s learning that probably isn’t part of the prescribed curriculum is speaking confidently in front of others (one or many).
I often reflect on my own, awkward childhood and ponder how different my life would have been if only I had learnt how to speak with confidence as a child.
Whether you yourself are a confident speaker or not, you can help the child in your life build confidence speaking with these activities.
Children love to play and this is a wonderful way to help them become confident speaking in front of others.
Role-plays that will help to build confidence is having children pretend they are one of these people:
- School Teacher
- News Reporter
- TV talk show host
My publicity mentor, Kate Engler from the Meet The Press MasterClass has role-played with her boys for years – one of their role play traditions is to pretend to be awards presenters (think the Oscars) for each of their ski trips. They each take in turns making up different award categories and listing the nominations (and explaining what they did to deserve the nomination), before finally announcing the award winner at which time everyone does a suitable ‘golf clap’ before moving on to the next award. She’s made the whole thing fun, and her boys certainly know how to hold a room, that’s for sure!
Encouraging children to use their imagination and tell you stories is a great step towards building their confidence as a speaker. My 7-year-old nephew is a great storyteller, most of his stories include him and Darth Vadar saving the day.
Personal stories are especially good skills to help your child develop as it will help them with their confidence now and also set them up to be a powerful communicator long term.
I encourage both my niece and nephew to tell me stories about their personal experiences. To develop their storytelling skills I would ask them simple questions like:
- Who was there?
- What did you see?
- What did you hear?
- What did you do?
Developing conversational skills will help your children to speak on their feet with confidence.
The simple way to help your child develop conversation skills is to ask them questions and encourage them to ask you questions.
It can be tough and sometimes frustrating at the start:
- How was your day? … Fine.
- What did you learn today? … Nothing.
You can ease the frustration and make conversations fun by using conversation cards, oracle cards or wisdom cards.
I have found that using oracle cards and wisdom cards work best for children as they have a word or saying along with a picture.
I use Cat Wisdom Cards with my niece and nephew. Each of us randomly selects a card, then, in turn, we would show the card and talk about firstly the cute cat on the card, then we would talk about the word or words. We share what the word or words mean to us and then the others add their thoughts. This was a fun activity that sparks interesting conversations.
Don’t have cards, no problem, creating your own adds to the fun. Give everyone 3 post-it notes. Write one topic, question per post-it note.
Whatever tip you use, make it fun and make the most of having extra time with your children at the moment – it will be one of the greatest gifts you can ever give them.
The Carousel would like to thank Kaylene Ledgar for her article.