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Questionnaire: Do I Encourage Speech in Public?

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 25 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Child Children Speak Speech Public

Children may not enjoy speaking in public for a variety of reasons, from an embarrassing speech impediment to a general shyness in front of strangers. Yet for the rest of their lives they will need to leave their homes and speak to others every day, so encouraging them while they are young actually does them a great favour.

Encouraging speech in public can take many forms. This questionnaire should help you better determine if you encourage your children to speak outside of the home and offers advice for how to create even more opportunities for such speech.


1. When your child has a question in a shop, do you let him/her ask it?
2. Do you prompt your child to order his or her meal when eating out?
3. At the playground, do you encourage your child to speak to others?
4. When the GP asks your child a question, does (s)he answer it?
5. Have you spoken to your child’s teacher about answering questions in class?
6. Do you encourage your child to answer questions at events like storytime?
7. Do you ask your child to help “host” when you socialise (saying hello, etc)?
8. Do you find rewards for your child speaking, such as a film if (s)he asks for the tickets?
9. Do you ask friends and family to encourage your child when (s)he speaks in public?
10. Do you practice common social greetings/scripts with your child?
11. Do you praise your child after (s)he speaks in a new setting?
12. Have you asked your child why (s)he does or does not like speaking in public?

Do I Encourage Speech In Public?

If you answered “yes” to between zero and four questions then you most likely do not encourage your children to speak in public. Ask your child if (s)he enjoys speaking to others outside of the immediate family and observe his or her actions to see if they match this answer. Start small, asking your child to say something short on your next trip out of your home. If you need to, practice what your child could say and how to say it politely so that (s)he feels confident in the delivery. Consider joining in more social activities to offer your child more opportunities to speak to others. It may be hard at first, but nudging your child into new settings and speaking to new people will ultimately be to his or her benefit in the long run.

If you answered “yes” to between five and eight questions then you may encourage speech in public. You have likely observed that your child does not enjoy speaking to anyone with whom (s)he is not particularly close and have made a point of having him or her speak when spoken to by others. In the future concentrate on having your child initiate social interactions with others. Letting him or her order a snack or meal at a restaurant, pay for a book or ask for the tickets to the zoo are all fun ways for your child to speak in public and reap a little reward for doing so. If you child really does not want to speak even with the promise of a reward, ask about his or her underlying fears and brainstorm together about how to overcome them.

If you answered “yes” to nine or more questions then you most likely encourage your children to speak when you are out and about. In fact, unless your child has stated a reluctance to speak to others or you notice a hesitancy in certain situation, you may not have to give much encouragement at all before (s)he is off and chatting! Just make sure that your child knows what is appropriate to say to others and how to say it politely, as well as the basics of stranger danger and when and who (s)he should not speak to out in the wider world. Ensure to that (s)he knows her name and phone number and can recite this information to police should there be a need.

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