We’ve spent a lot of time together this summer. Naturally, there have been challenging moments, but a topic that’s been prevalent in our household lately is tone.
Something I learned a while back, which surprised me initially, was that only 7% of communication stems from the words used. Tone carries a much more significant weight at 38%, and body language is even more influential at 55%.
Children predominantly learn how to communicate from the models presented by their parents, teachers, and other adults in their lives. However, I often feel that the significance of communication isn’t always adequately conveyed to kids. Honestly, there are plenty of adults who haven’t mastered this either, so it’s not entirely unexpected.
Extensive research is being conducted on how the rise in technology is impacting our communication and connections, particularly among younger generations. Educating kids about communication’s impact and importance should be a priority for all of us.
This summer, we embarked on a bike trip to an island. During a stop in town for ice cream, I overheard a woman asking her husband if he was going to get ice cream. His response was, “I am not getting ice cream today.” On the surface, that statement might appear entirely ordinary and acceptable, but if you had heard him, you might have been as surprised as I was. His tone was aggressive, and he emphasized the “not.” It served as a stark reminder of how much tone influences communication.
I’ve been helping my kids realize that it’s not just what they say, but how they say it that matters. At this moment, I’m focused on helping them understand that their tone constitutes the “how you say it” aspect.
Aiding children in recognizing tone of voice enables them to pick up cues about the speaker’s intention and perhaps their mood. Sometimes, kids struggle with inflection, so teaching them that the meaning of words changes with emphasis, volume, and speed of speech can be incredibly beneficial.
As expat parents, guiding our kids through various cultures and languages, it’s crucial that we assist them in paying attention to these nuances in communication. Building connections is imperative, and communication is the cornerstone of connecting with one another.
Pssstttt, If you’ve noticed that your own tone hasn’t been as patient and kind towards your child recently, don’t worry. We all have those days. Keep moving forward; you’re doing even better than you think, and your child is fortunate to have YOU!