Effective Communication with Children and Young People

1 January 2018

When building relationships with children and young people it is necessary to adjust your behaviour and to show effective communication skills. Children’s abilities, personalities and cultural needs will vary due to every child being different and having different needs. Because children need to feel secure and valued it is also important to buid these relationships right from the start. They need to feel a level of trust and safety to develop a relationship. You need to be patient, friendly, supportive, fair, show respect and interest, maintain good eye-contact, and praise the child as well. To establish a positive relationship it is vital to listen to the children and then respond in a suitable manner. You need to give them your full attention through speech, facial expressions, gesture and body language.

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Allow the children to express themselves using their own words and in their own time. Ground rules and mutual respect must start at the beginning and you need to talk with them about the factors when working together.When you listen without interruption to what the child had to say you establish a respectful and professional relationship with the child. It shows that you are interested in their opinions and encourages them to interact with you. As you maintain good eye-contact, concentrate on what they are saying and physically lower yourself to their level. Doing this shows that you respect and view the child as an equal. How to talk to a child is as important. You have to talk clearly and calmly, and be consistent in all situations. Do not raise your voice or intimidate them by standing over them. Don’t try to be their friend either because it will be difficult for you to maintain control over your level of authority. Fairness is allowing the child to explain their version of events which shows that you are willing to listen. If you are polite, honest and respectful to children not only is a good role model for them but chances are they will act the same way towards you.

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