Training our children in conversational competence

james shone

By James Shone

My new passion is that we use this time of challenge in as positive a way as we can. There is no doubt that it is awkward, different, strange and difficult for many but I do believe that from this malaise some positive should come. To that end I wonder whether training our children in conversational competence could be a focus for us as parents during this time.  It is, after all, an essential human skill. The amount of time we’re all spending in isolation and on screens limits interaction with other people so it’s a good time to teach young people the art of being a good conversationalist.

I see it as involving two simple skills:  One is to ask questions.  The second, perhaps, more importantly is to listen and respond to the answer. This has become a focus around our table in the evenings since we are very good at talking, but not always listening to anyone else!   So I wonder whether we can all make this a priority in our homes over the next couple of weeks and see if meal times can have a focus on this essential skill for life.

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