Why confidence is so important

When you follow these basic three tips you will see a communicative burst which might not be words but that's what we are looking for. Unfurling!

Why is confidence so important and what are the three ways to increase your later talker’s confidence

A lot of the late talkers, really struggle with confidence and I don't know whether I ever really used to think about confidence with these children when I worked in the NHS, but I definitely see it now. I see that these children learn very quickly, even when they may not seem to have the comprehension to understand what's going on. Unfortunately, they often learn quickly that they're not very good at talking, that talking is difficult, that communicating is difficult, and that it's really hard for them to talk. So they start to avoid communication.

All kids are different and they all have their own little ways of making sure that they are safe and are not put into stressful situations where they don’t have control over communication. Now, sometimes as parents, we interpret this as either a difficult or challenging behaviour or shyness or their own agenda.

Confidence is the first thing we work on in my Can-Do bootcamp. Children’s confidence usually soars when they do what they can do. This is usually followed by natural progress since confidence is the first thing needed for them to participate in learning.

Here are my three top tips to increase confidence in late talkers:

Don't ask them to say things:

Number one is to give the children the words, don't ask them for the words.

Let's not challenge them by asking them to say things or make it a task. Imagine how you feel when you're in a test situation. You know, your mind can go blank. You think you’re not as good at finding things or moving as others are. Think about an interview situation where you know, every word is important. People are listening to you. They are trying to judge you by what you're saying. It becomes much more difficult to talk in a situation like this. Our late talkers experience the same emotion.

Don't put pressure on your children to talk when their emotions are high:

As emotions go high, often language goes down. By keeping this in mind, we want to give children time, space and opportunity to come forward. As a busy mom of four, I know it’s easier said than done because life is fast, we need to go places and we need to do things. So we need to keep things moving. Giving time and opportunity to our late talkers for them to come forward, can be really, really tricky, and the most important thing in their speech and language journey. When children are given that opportunity, space and time, they do much, much better.

Listen without judgment:

As a mom of children who weren’t late talkers, just to keep that connection with them when you are not worried about their language development, is hard enough. Often times, you want them to behave well or you don’t want them to be distressed, so you either dismiss their feelings or tell them things wrong because you feel the need to teach them. Children of all ages perceive this as judgement. If you are judging, they won’t talk, share or open up to you. They don't want to feel vulnerable in ways that are difficult for them. This is a long burner. You need to do this nonjudgmental listening for a long time to help children gain that confidence.

But it's so important. It makes for a much easier parenting journey when children can come to you, open up to you, and share with you what they're doing. But when you've got a late talker, this is tenfold because you feel responsible to teach them. So what you do is, you are listening, did they get the right word? Did they say it right? Did they use the right sound? Did they say enough? Was it in the right context? Or was it with the right eye contact? Did they ask the right question at the right time? So you're judging them in trying to teach them. This judgment decreases confidence.

When you follow these basic three tips you will see a communicative burst which might not be words but that's what we are looking for. We are looking for them unfurling. I often talk about these late talkers as being tight, little rosebuds. They don't want to communicate because it's all too difficult. Gradually as we give them the space, the time, the right skills and the right strategies, they begin to unfold.

What I do in my Can-Do bootcamp is not about flashcards or sitting down and doing exercises or playing a certain game at a certain time. It's about creating a natural environment that promotes conversation. It promotes interaction. It promotes a desire to communicate and confidence is right at the heart of that.

Let’s look at their eating and drinking, interaction, and whole-body movements. Let's look at everything and see how we can help and support your child to make those next steps forward. Confidence is the starting block of all of this. So if we can't get your child confident right now we're actually wasting our time trying to get them to the next point. We've got to really nurture confidence first and then start to expect more out of our children. I see that across the board with children, I see it with children who are typically developing. Although I would argue that all children have got their difficulties, their quirks and things that are not easy. And if we help them develop that confidence, we know that they begin to move forward.

Doors to my bootcamp open again in September 2022. Click here to get on my waiting list.

Categories: : Top Tips