Encourage effective communication

Children ages 6 to 8 often have trouble expressing themselves, leading to frustration on all sides. During the Innovation Lab we taught students how to communicate with “I messages.” Students were presented with scenarios of people in conflict and asked to create an “I message” that could have been used rather than fighting or crying. “I feel sad that you’re not playing with me,” said Katie, offering a possible “I message” for a character who was giving a friend the silent treatment in one scenario. “That way the friend knows what’s wrong, and can help,” Katie explained.  At home, simply ask your child to rephrase themselves using an “I message.” But be wary of the hidden “You message” – statements such as “I want you to do something” can be construed as non-negotiable positions. “I messages” should share underlying feelings.