For a child who struggles to speak up, you may be tempted to become the loudest voice in the room.
You may even feel as if you have to do this just to get your child’s attention. But in fact, you can help your soft-spoken child learn to speak up for herself by using the following strategies:
1. Be a good role model.
Kids are sponges when it comes to learning how to communicate with others. They’re also very good at mimicking behavior, so if you’re constantly raising your voice and speaking over other people, they will too.
Make sure that when you speak with your child, you don’t yell or speak louder than is necessary for her to hear you well. Speak at a normal volume level and ask her if she can hear you well.
2. Let her know that it’s okay for her to use her voice.
A lot of kids who struggle with speech issues fear that they won’t be heard if they speak up because their voices are so soft or because they tend not to project their voices when speaking aloud.
Talk with your child about how using his voice doesn’t have anything to do with being loud or quiet.
It has everything to do with communicating effectively and clearly with others, which is what he needs to do at school and around his friends and family members.
Let him know that if he wants people around him — especially teachers — to listen when he speaks.
He needs not only talk but also project his voice into the air around him so that others can hear him clearly when he speaks aloud in class or other places where talking is expected of him (like restaurants).
He should never feel as though he has an obligation or pressure from anyone else (including teachers). In order to talk more loudly than he feels comfortable doing so just because someone else wants him too.
This will only make him more nervous about speaking up in public settings where others might overhear his words and judge him negatively for them. Instead of focusing on what he has something important and meaningful on his mind that deserves being heard by those around him.
3. Give her opportunities to practice talking in front of others.
Kids who are soft-spoken often struggle with their confidence when it comes to speaking up in public.
So make sure that you give her plenty of opportunities to practice talking in front of others — not just around family members.
But also around people she doesn’t know very well (like teachers and other kids at school).
Encourage her to speak up when she has something important to say, and praise her for being brave enough to speak up when she wants to.
4. Teach her how to speak up in certain situations.
You can teach your child to speak up in specific situations that are challenging for her, such as talking with her teacher during parent-teacher conferences or during a one-on-one conference with the school counselor.
Let her know that it’s okay for her to speak up and tell the teacher or counselor what she wants to say when she has something important to say, and that it’s also okay for her to use a sign language interpreter.
If she wants someone else to help her communicate with others when she is too nervous about speaking up on her own.
5. Encourage your child to communicate more with her peers.
A lot of kids who are soft-spoken don’t have many friends because they’re too nervous about speaking up to other kids and having the courage to speak their minds.
Make sure that your child has opportunities to socialize with other kids in a safe environment.
Such as playdates with a few close friends, or sign language classes if she wants to practice communicating with others without having to speak aloud.
You can also encourage her to talk more with her teachers at school. Also. other adults who she comes into contact with on a regular basis (like bus drivers and cafeteria workers).
So that she becomes more comfortable talking with people outside of her family unit.
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