Summer Learning: Developing Your Child's Communication Skills

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Have you ever thought of scheduling a weekly family meeting during the summer months? It really is a great way to boost communication skills at home! Kids of all ages, when given the chance, can participate in structured discussions to recap the previous week and plan for the next one. Routine meetings can allow everyone to contribute personal thoughts, feelings, ideas, choices, etc., so that everyone has an opportunity to be heard.  Topic possibilities are endless, yet providing this type of platform can build family connections and help children develop their personal communication skills.

Here’s how it works:

1. Pick a time which you set aside to conduct the weekly family meetings this summer.  It can be some time on the weekend or whatever works with your family’s schedule.  The point is to plan the time into your schedule so your children can look forward to having a special time to express themselves.

2. Work together to name the time set apart to meet. (Example:  The Johnson Council)  Create an official sign using the chosen name, and display it during family meetings!

3. Assign an office to each contributing family member.  Making the meeting time more formal can be fun for your children and also introduce them to the structure of a public meeting forum.  Here’s an example:

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4. Create an agenda for your meeting time.  Include a recap of the last meeting, a budget discussion by the treasurer, weekly stars, and weekly wishes that are ideas for the upcoming week.  (A “star” would be something that is working well in your schedule; a “wish” would be something that will continually change.)  Example:

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Providing your children with an opportunity to participate in a weekly family meeting during the summer months can sharpen their communication skills.  Meetings can coax reluctant speakers with a venue to express themselves as well as supply more vocal children with a vehicle to communicate in a safe, controlled environment.  Everyone can have a chance to contribute, and you might be surprised by what you will learn during these discussions. 


True Story:  (If I may share a short story with you from my own childhood, it might help you think about your own communication habits within your family.)

While I was in grade school, my mother used to braid my tremendously long hair in two braids every single day. Unbeknownst to her, the other kids would tease me about my braids, which of course mortified me.  I was embarrassed and would have preferred not wearing my hair that way, but in my shy obedience to my mom, I never said a word about it to her.

Imagine my surprise years later when I mentioned this period of my growing up years to her.  I will never forget her saying, “All you had to do was tell me. You didn’t have to wear your hair that way.”  …Wait! …All I had to do was tell her?! Ugh! 

My mother’s words opened a window in my mind to the value of communication.

Is there a shy, obedient child in your family that might benefit from a weekly time to express what is on his or her mind?  Do you have a more expressive child that needs structure and guidance to speak in an orderly way? Perhaps a weekly family meeting this summer could be just the tool your family needs to build communication skills.


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Cindy Goeden

Cindy Goeden has enjoyed being involved with Shurley English for the last sixteen of her twenty-six years in the field of education.  Working with various levels of students in elementary, junior, and high schools, in both the private and public arenas, Cindy surely is thankful for the providential day that she was introduced to Shurley English, which changed forever her approach to Language Arts instruction. That has led to her current job of having the joy of sharing about Shurley with other educators.  Her love of learning has prodded her to earn over two hundred and twenty hours, which includes two bachelor degrees in education.


Cindy currently lives with her husband, Donald, in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she enjoys puttering in her flowers, changing up her décor with the seasons, and occasionally getting out and traveling with Donald to either explore a new beach or view historic sights and gardens.