Life ‘gets in the way’ of talking

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A national survey of 2,000 parents, of children aged 0-11, has revealed that more than half of parents worry that they don't have the time to talk and communicate properly with their children, because life gets in the way.

The survey, by children’s charity, I CAN, found that almost four in ten parents agree that being a good communicator is the most important thing for a child to achieve. However, 50% of parents believe their children struggle to communicate and while parents were involved in a range of different play activities with their children, the most popular shared activity between parent and child was watching TV (73%), during which just one in ten parents felt this is where they communicated well with their child.

Wendy Lee, speech and language therapist said: “Parents are worried that their hectic schedules are making it difficult to find the time to develop their communication skills. They know just how important it is for their children to be good communicators.

“The answer is about making the most of the time we have with our children and focusing on the basic building blocks of communication – from developing vocabulary and building sentences to interacting and making friends."

The survey, found that while the majority of parents (58%) understand the importance of interactive (two-way) communication, only 17% were aware of the importance of being able to use words and sentences. For those parents who felt their child struggled to communicate, the areas of most concern were vocabulary, sentences and ability to speak clearly (around 30% of parents in each group).

Additional findings from the survey:

  • Almost one in four parents (23%) believe time restrictions impacts the quality of the communication with their child at least once a day.
  • Almost six in ten (58%) parents believe good communication means having two-way, interactive communication with your child.
  • Parents rate boys’ ability to communicate as lower than girls, particularly when it comes to speaking in sentences.
  • 63% of parents believe that communication with their parents was worse than with their own child.
  • Singing and dancing, arts and crafts and imaginative play are more popular amongst parents with girls.