How we should speak with children

Sitting on the bus this morning, I could overhear a mother jabbering away to her young daughter of about three. The daughter didn’t have much to say, but the mother kept on.

She asked questions about how long their bus ride would take; where she thought all the people lining the streets were going (they were going to the Chelsea Flower Show); what flowers she liked the most; what she would like to do when they got to the Science Museum; whether she could remember when the Science Museum opened.

She told her daughter about what the girl’s sister and father would be spending their day doing; her own conversation with a taxi driver, the day before; what she thought would be happening at the Chelsea Flower Show.

The mother spoke with her offspring as an intellectual equal.

The daughter sat quietly most of the time, gazing intently out the window to her city, then providing simple one word answers to most of the questioning. Her answers were plain, but she was being exposed to a world of language, thoughts and most importantly engaging with the world around her.

To provide our children with access to their world is tantamount. That they can provide answers to adults’ complex questions, gives them confidence. Interacting with space and time in a real world sense gives children solid grounding for their understanding of numbers when they attend school.

Sure the young girl’s main priority was arriving at the museum to learn about science and blow bubbles.

Yet the mother’s priority was to make every minute count; every moment an experience; every thought special.

Love your children. Love Learning. Love Life.