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The Art of Talking with Children: The Simple Keys to Nurturing Kindness, Creativity, and Confidence in Kids

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From a Harvard faculty member and oral language specialist, an invaluable guide that gives readers evidence-based tools and techniques to communicate more effectively with children in ways that let them foster relationships with less conflict and more joy and kindness. Science has shown that the best way to help our kids become independent, confident, kind, empathetic, and From a Harvard faculty member and oral language specialist, an invaluable guide that gives readers evidence-based tools and techniques to communicate more effectively with children in ways that let them foster relationships with less conflict and more joy and kindness. Science has shown that the best way to help our kids become independent, confident, kind, empathetic, and happy is by talking with them. Yet, so often, parents, educators, and caregivers have trouble communicating with kids. Conversations can feel trivial or strained--or worse, are marked by constant conflict. In The Art of Talking with Children, Rebecca Rolland, a Harvard faculty member, speech pathologist, and mother, arms adults with practical tools to help them have productive and meaningful conversations with children of all ages--whether it's engaging an obstinate toddler or getting the most monosyllabic adolescent to open up. With a winning combination of engaging storytelling, the most up-to-date research, and practical advice, The Art of Talking with Children is an essential blueprint that empowers parents to navigate everyday behavior issues, put an end to the battles, build better, more peaceful, and more fulfilling relationships, and set their children on the path to a successful adulthood.


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From a Harvard faculty member and oral language specialist, an invaluable guide that gives readers evidence-based tools and techniques to communicate more effectively with children in ways that let them foster relationships with less conflict and more joy and kindness. Science has shown that the best way to help our kids become independent, confident, kind, empathetic, and From a Harvard faculty member and oral language specialist, an invaluable guide that gives readers evidence-based tools and techniques to communicate more effectively with children in ways that let them foster relationships with less conflict and more joy and kindness. Science has shown that the best way to help our kids become independent, confident, kind, empathetic, and happy is by talking with them. Yet, so often, parents, educators, and caregivers have trouble communicating with kids. Conversations can feel trivial or strained--or worse, are marked by constant conflict. In The Art of Talking with Children, Rebecca Rolland, a Harvard faculty member, speech pathologist, and mother, arms adults with practical tools to help them have productive and meaningful conversations with children of all ages--whether it's engaging an obstinate toddler or getting the most monosyllabic adolescent to open up. With a winning combination of engaging storytelling, the most up-to-date research, and practical advice, The Art of Talking with Children is an essential blueprint that empowers parents to navigate everyday behavior issues, put an end to the battles, build better, more peaceful, and more fulfilling relationships, and set their children on the path to a successful adulthood.

30 review for The Art of Talking with Children: The Simple Keys to Nurturing Kindness, Creativity, and Confidence in Kids

  1. 4 out of 5

    Zara Stone

    It’s hard to know how to talk to your kids. How do you elicit more than an OK when you ask about their day? How do you connect about real things rather than the minutiae of living. In this insightful text, Rolland parses these questions, interspersed with a personal narrative about her own struggles which help this book hit home. This offers a clear concise way to communicate with children, and leaves the reader feeling enriched and motivated to do so.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Melnick

    This book is an invaluable resource for parents raising kids of all ages. The author is both an oral language specialist (so she knows the importance and reach of language!) and a parent herself (so she knows that sometimes conversation gets lost in all the to-do of our everyday lives). What I appreciated most in this mix of family anecdotes and concrete tools to improve our communication, is the compassion the author brings. This book leaves the reader feeling that more and better communication This book is an invaluable resource for parents raising kids of all ages. The author is both an oral language specialist (so she knows the importance and reach of language!) and a parent herself (so she knows that sometimes conversation gets lost in all the to-do of our everyday lives). What I appreciated most in this mix of family anecdotes and concrete tools to improve our communication, is the compassion the author brings. This book leaves the reader feeling that more and better communication is not only possible, but very achievable, despite our busy, complicated lives.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Angela Yarber

    I'd highly recommend this book for any parent. The practical tools, combined with the science behind them, helped me understand both the how and the why behind "rich talk." I've already had more meaningful conversations with my 4 and 8 y/os. So grateful I read an Advanced Reader Copy I'd highly recommend this book for any parent. The practical tools, combined with the science behind them, helped me understand both the how and the why behind "rich talk." I've already had more meaningful conversations with my 4 and 8 y/os. So grateful I read an Advanced Reader Copy

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jody Keisner

    The Art of Talking with Children is going to be a lifeboat for many parents--parents like me, the mother of strong-willed, rebellious daughters (11 and 4yo). Rolland offers helpful advice, insights, and examples of how to have meaningful, productive conversations with your children (as opposed to talking AT them or falling into conversational ruts). My oldest is already responding positively to some of the techniques from the book. Rolland interweaves real-life scenes throughout which makes for The Art of Talking with Children is going to be a lifeboat for many parents--parents like me, the mother of strong-willed, rebellious daughters (11 and 4yo). Rolland offers helpful advice, insights, and examples of how to have meaningful, productive conversations with your children (as opposed to talking AT them or falling into conversational ruts). My oldest is already responding positively to some of the techniques from the book. Rolland interweaves real-life scenes throughout which makes for an entertaining read. I found the "Child Driven Principles" discussion especially insightful. I was grateful to receive an Advanced Reader's Copy and I highly recommend to parents of children all ages!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Debi

    What an important book for parents of young children! Rolland, a speech pathologist, really breaks down the deeper ways that children understand their world through language. Including case studies and tons of specific prompts, she offers parents practical ways of drawing out their children's thoughts and ideas. I can't help but imagine (and happily anticipate!) the critically-thinking adults that will come out of the families that embrace this way of communicating! What an important book for parents of young children! Rolland, a speech pathologist, really breaks down the deeper ways that children understand their world through language. Including case studies and tons of specific prompts, she offers parents practical ways of drawing out their children's thoughts and ideas. I can't help but imagine (and happily anticipate!) the critically-thinking adults that will come out of the families that embrace this way of communicating!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Maum

    This book found me at exactly the right time. My eight year old has tons of questions about everything-- and I've become so specialized in literature and marketing, that anything outside of those spheres (What is 5 x 26? How do crystals grow?) feels tough to answer without Google or a calculator, which makes me feel stupid and ashamed. Rolland's encouragement of conversation for conversation's sake comforted me, as did the research on how talking about "not knowing" things is as important as kno This book found me at exactly the right time. My eight year old has tons of questions about everything-- and I've become so specialized in literature and marketing, that anything outside of those spheres (What is 5 x 26? How do crystals grow?) feels tough to answer without Google or a calculator, which makes me feel stupid and ashamed. Rolland's encouragement of conversation for conversation's sake comforted me, as did the research on how talking about "not knowing" things is as important as knowing things. Reading this book also made me grateful-- oddly enough-- for the far slower pace of life this last two years when, because of the pandemic and homeschooling, I've really gotten to spend tons of quality time with my little girl. This book is well written, informative and charming-- and will appeal to fans of Lori Gottlieb and Susan Orlean.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jana Eisenstein

    I was kindly given an advanced reader copy of "The Art of Talking with Children," and, while I don't have kids myself, I was surprised by how easily I could translate the information provided to my relationships with my nieces and nephews (ages 3-7). The book provides a toolkit of sorts for how to improve on the quality of the conversations we have with children, and offers, through interviews with clinical experts and parents alike, the rationale behind why these types of conversations are so i I was kindly given an advanced reader copy of "The Art of Talking with Children," and, while I don't have kids myself, I was surprised by how easily I could translate the information provided to my relationships with my nieces and nephews (ages 3-7). The book provides a toolkit of sorts for how to improve on the quality of the conversations we have with children, and offers, through interviews with clinical experts and parents alike, the rationale behind why these types of conversations are so important to a developing child. The book definitely made me realize that while I often joke and play well with my nieces and nephews, I don't often engage them in deeper discussions or thought games. Truthfully, since I don't have kids of my own, being around kids for too long exhausts me. They talk a lot. About very boring things. But, this book actually provided me with some helpful cues and tips for engaging them in interesting, deep, and fun conversations that don't have to take a ton of time. As the sibling gunning for Favorite Aunt status, these tools will hopefully give me a leg up on my competition.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Gehring

    I read this book at the exact right moment in time! I am a busy mother of three. With a sixteen-year-old, 12, and six-year-old, communication feels overwhelming. I am exhausted at the end of the day and the differences in age between my children is an additional challenge. I loved the case studies and the easy-to-apply "prompts." After all of these years of parenting, I felt this was just the refresher I needed. Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC in return for an honest review. I read this book at the exact right moment in time! I am a busy mother of three. With a sixteen-year-old, 12, and six-year-old, communication feels overwhelming. I am exhausted at the end of the day and the differences in age between my children is an additional challenge. I loved the case studies and the easy-to-apply "prompts." After all of these years of parenting, I felt this was just the refresher I needed. Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC in return for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mikyl Swoboda

    This book is excellent. If I could give it 10 stars I would. I just bought one for myself so I can mark it up. I’m always looking for parenting books that give applicable examples and make it easy to remember the content through mnemonics and short simple lists. She does have a one size fits all but guides you through being tuned in to your kids individual needs.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Madhushree Ghosh

    So honored to have received an ARC of "The Art of Talking with Children". Author Rebecca Rolland, Harvard faculty member and oral specialist blends in science and communication, using techniques that focus on BOTH sides of the brain to tackle an age-old issue: How to communicate with children. Through techniques, scientific measurable actions, Rolland focuses on why communication should start from day one, why it's important in HOW we speak with children and what happens when we employ analytica So honored to have received an ARC of "The Art of Talking with Children". Author Rebecca Rolland, Harvard faculty member and oral specialist blends in science and communication, using techniques that focus on BOTH sides of the brain to tackle an age-old issue: How to communicate with children. Through techniques, scientific measurable actions, Rolland focuses on why communication should start from day one, why it's important in HOW we speak with children and what happens when we employ analytical techniques to ensure an emotional response, i.e. connecting with kids to empower, embolden and enable creativity and confidence in them. Refreshing prose, very do-able ideas, this book combines, science, creativity, art and communication and a must-read if you have children in your life--I personally learned so much!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    I was provided an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I don't often read non-fiction, but as a new mum I was eager to give this one a go. This book is wonderful - so many 'parenting' books can come across as preachy, but this one doesn't. It's full of easy-to-adopt habits that make total sense when you think about it! I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to have a more open, positive relationship with their children. I was provided an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I don't often read non-fiction, but as a new mum I was eager to give this one a go. This book is wonderful - so many 'parenting' books can come across as preachy, but this one doesn't. It's full of easy-to-adopt habits that make total sense when you think about it! I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to have a more open, positive relationship with their children.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Aileen Weintraub

    I was fortunate to get an advanced reader copy of this informative and important book about how to help kids discuss and recognize their emotions, which in turn helps them show more empathy. Rich Talk blends science and strategy in an easy to understand and conversational way that will ensure our kids feel seen and heard. I loved that this book is for parents of kids of all ages. As a mom with a teenager, it was especially helpful to learn new ways to teach both ourselves and our kids to truly e I was fortunate to get an advanced reader copy of this informative and important book about how to help kids discuss and recognize their emotions, which in turn helps them show more empathy. Rich Talk blends science and strategy in an easy to understand and conversational way that will ensure our kids feel seen and heard. I loved that this book is for parents of kids of all ages. As a mom with a teenager, it was especially helpful to learn new ways to teach both ourselves and our kids to truly engage and be present in a world full of distractions. When we connect on a deeper level with our kids, we are teaching them to connect on a deeper level with others. Rolland's Rich Talk uses the ABC method which includes being Adaptive, participating in Back and Forth, and using Child Driven Principles. This book should be on every parent's TBR list.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Armida Lizarraga

    The Art of Talking with Children not only unpacks aspects that might seem obvious and help build conversations with children, but most importantly it helps us adults open up and be aware when we talk with children, not as experts but as a human being engaged in a genuine conversation with another human being trying to figure things out. That is a powerful shift. Many times us adults complain about children not talking to us, but it is precisely because our conversations are limited to check-in q The Art of Talking with Children not only unpacks aspects that might seem obvious and help build conversations with children, but most importantly it helps us adults open up and be aware when we talk with children, not as experts but as a human being engaged in a genuine conversation with another human being trying to figure things out. That is a powerful shift. Many times us adults complain about children not talking to us, but it is precisely because our conversations are limited to check-in questions or instructions. Great conversations are done by talking and listening and they take time. This book reminds us that children can come up with all the topics where deeper and rich conversations can happen. It also unpacks areas where conversation impacts child development and how it impacts their lives. Rolland combines strategy, with stories and relatable examples. I highly recommend this book for adults in general!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Liora

    As a pediatric dentist I was definitely trained and able to understand the need for good communication . I am able to differentiate between the timing and the accurate techniques among the ones I have to help achieve my goal: acquire cooperation and trust from the child to perform the necessary treatment. But I am also a mother of three and in my "private world" my training was not always as applicable because of the emotional factor and fast pace of our everyday life.  This is where "The Art of As a pediatric dentist I was definitely trained and able to understand the need for good communication . I am able to differentiate between the timing and the accurate techniques among the ones I have to help achieve my goal: acquire cooperation and trust from the child to perform the necessary treatment. But I am also a mother of three and in my "private world" my training was not always as applicable because of the emotional factor and fast pace of our everyday life.  This is where "The Art of Talking with Children" makes a lot of sense: it helps  catching and recognizing those little moments and opportunities to help your child become the best of himself and not just leading them to do what we think is best for them.With simple examples Rebecca Roland gives you hints how to navigate and take advantage of these everyday situations to built curious and compassionate adults thanks to the "right talk at the right moment".

  15. 5 out of 5

    ROQUES KARINE

    I enjoyed reading this inspiring book that proposes a very good mixture of stories and research, along with multiple examples. The author uses a concrete approach and gives her strong opinion on how our society needs to change to support kids. This is funny and very enriching to learn about the author's own experiences with her kids. The book is easy to read and as a reader, we discover such good ideas for anyone who raises or teaches kids today. I enjoyed reading this inspiring book that proposes a very good mixture of stories and research, along with multiple examples. The author uses a concrete approach and gives her strong opinion on how our society needs to change to support kids. This is funny and very enriching to learn about the author's own experiences with her kids. The book is easy to read and as a reader, we discover such good ideas for anyone who raises or teaches kids today.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Feldman

    Sometimes we worry so much about what we do for our children, and what they're doing in school and outside--this book reminded me that we parent and love just as much through conversation. But are our conversations meaningful? Rebecca Rolland is a great companion in this quest, an expert who talks like a friend, who shares strategies for developing rich talk. This book feels especially important today, when developing empathy and resilience--and capacity for joy!--is ever more urgent. Sometimes we worry so much about what we do for our children, and what they're doing in school and outside--this book reminded me that we parent and love just as much through conversation. But are our conversations meaningful? Rebecca Rolland is a great companion in this quest, an expert who talks like a friend, who shares strategies for developing rich talk. This book feels especially important today, when developing empathy and resilience--and capacity for joy!--is ever more urgent.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gina Schneider

    This book is so full of rich, original suggestions for improving our communication with anyone. While Dr. Rolland focuses on talking with children, the principles apply to any situation where real connection with another person is desired. This should be required reading for every educator and anyone who works with young people. I highly recommend this beautiful and wise work.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Arlene Ross

    A refreshing read, in the world of cookie-cutter parenting books. I was lucky to read an advance copy--it gave me a lot of food for thought, and I'm still talking about it with my parent and grandparent friends. A refreshing read, in the world of cookie-cutter parenting books. I was lucky to read an advance copy--it gave me a lot of food for thought, and I'm still talking about it with my parent and grandparent friends.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    This is a readable, engaging, and helpful book for anyone who works with or has children! I look forward to recommending it to colleagues, other parents, and anyone who is interested in oral language development!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Noa Benichou

    This book is extremely well written and accessible to just about anyone reading it. As a beginner in this field I have learned so much important information that is crucial to childcare and education. I would recommend this book to any new parent or even anyone trying to understand the development of children.

  21. 5 out of 5

    robert green

    Outstanding book for parents, teachers, and anyone who raises or teaches kids! I found this so helpful and engaging, with such specific examples and an inspiring approach.

  22. 4 out of 5

    David Benichou

    Rebecca has written a very organized book which help realize the daily unscheduled relationship opportunities we can all have with our kids. This book naturally supports stronger family fondation. Some examples are just here in the back or our heads and others are just mind blowing when you realize it, it's helpful on many levels. I consider the book a road map to improve conversation and ultimately relationship to and education with our kids. Rebecca has written a very organized book which help realize the daily unscheduled relationship opportunities we can all have with our kids. This book naturally supports stronger family fondation. Some examples are just here in the back or our heads and others are just mind blowing when you realize it, it's helpful on many levels. I consider the book a road map to improve conversation and ultimately relationship to and education with our kids.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    I loved reading this book. So informative on the best ways to talk to children. I love having this as a resource in my classroom for myself and for parents.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This book definitely gave helpful ways to really get to know and nurture your child and all their traits without being too, how do I put this?, emotional. I don't know if that's the correct word. It's scientific yet it doesn't seem too concrete and unfeeling. It's a good balance. I would definitely recommend it to parents of any kind (especially new or young parents) and teachers! This book definitely gave helpful ways to really get to know and nurture your child and all their traits without being too, how do I put this?, emotional. I don't know if that's the correct word. It's scientific yet it doesn't seem too concrete and unfeeling. It's a good balance. I would definitely recommend it to parents of any kind (especially new or young parents) and teachers!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This book is an incredible resource not only for parents, but for anyone who works with children (teachers, nannies, counselors, etc.). Using both her experience as a speech-language pathologist and as a parent herself, Rolland offers a well-organized and highly accessible guide to communicating with children of all ages in a way that will strengthen their curiosity and confidence. I really appreciate how Rolland used personal anecdotes throughout; the balance of the scientific and the personal This book is an incredible resource not only for parents, but for anyone who works with children (teachers, nannies, counselors, etc.). Using both her experience as a speech-language pathologist and as a parent herself, Rolland offers a well-organized and highly accessible guide to communicating with children of all ages in a way that will strengthen their curiosity and confidence. I really appreciate how Rolland used personal anecdotes throughout; the balance of the scientific and the personal made the book highly accessible, and I'll definitely be recommending it to every caregiver I know. Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced copy!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sara Hosey

    This is an invaluable guide to developing your connection with the children in your life through "rich talk." Wonderful advice and insights. This is an invaluable guide to developing your connection with the children in your life through "rich talk." Wonderful advice and insights.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sari Fordham

    A helpful book that uses a variety of lens to identify ways parents can have better conversations with their kids. The final section on temperament was a particularly good reminder that conversations can look different depending on what your kid needs.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Clothilde Chabot

    Definitely not your typical parenting book. It's a mixture of a memoir, clinical stories, and research-based strategies to talk with kids. I found it really engaging throughout--especially the chapters on building confidence and empathy. Even if you're not a typical reader of parenting books, I'd highly recommend it if you are a parent, teacher, grandparent, or anybody who interacts with kids. Definitely not your typical parenting book. It's a mixture of a memoir, clinical stories, and research-based strategies to talk with kids. I found it really engaging throughout--especially the chapters on building confidence and empathy. Even if you're not a typical reader of parenting books, I'd highly recommend it if you are a parent, teacher, grandparent, or anybody who interacts with kids.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Lewis

    I was so happy to be able to read an advance copy --I am ALWAYS up for a science-based parenting book. Rebecca Rolland's is a gem, and highly readable to boot. Along with the research, there are plenty of anecdotes from her own practice as well as actionable conversation tips for parents. Parents will come away inspired to implement her advice! As Rolland so capably demonstrates, conversations are such an essential aspect of how we relate with our kids -- nurturing these skills has powerful impl I was so happy to be able to read an advance copy --I am ALWAYS up for a science-based parenting book. Rebecca Rolland's is a gem, and highly readable to boot. Along with the research, there are plenty of anecdotes from her own practice as well as actionable conversation tips for parents. Parents will come away inspired to implement her advice! As Rolland so capably demonstrates, conversations are such an essential aspect of how we relate with our kids -- nurturing these skills has powerful implications. (And PS this book is not just for parents of younger children -- Rolland offers specific advice for parents of middle- and high-school-age kids too.)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Wow. A fantastic book about language and child development, written in an accessible style while still being firmly rooted in research. Divided into chapters that cover conversations for learning, empathy, confidence, building relationships, play, openness, and temperament, Rolland methodically covers why and how to use conversation to support and bring out the best in children, providing examples and strategies for infants through teenagers. The length may be intimidating for some readers- know Wow. A fantastic book about language and child development, written in an accessible style while still being firmly rooted in research. Divided into chapters that cover conversations for learning, empathy, confidence, building relationships, play, openness, and temperament, Rolland methodically covers why and how to use conversation to support and bring out the best in children, providing examples and strategies for infants through teenagers. The length may be intimidating for some readers- know that a quarter of the bulk is extensive footnotes and bibliography. Nevertheless, I bought a personal copy after reading the library's because I know this is one I'll be coming back to again and again.

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