Explain the Skills Needed to Communicate with Children and Young People

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Explain the skills needed to communicate with children and young people.

To communicate effectively with children you need to be aware of their level of development and an understanding of cognitive and language ability. For example if a 4 year old was drawing at a table and wanted your help, you would need to sit and kneel beside her and make eye contact. To show an interest in what they were saying you would listen and restate what they had said to show that you understand. Whatever the age of the child and even if they are a young person or adult, you should always do the following:

Find opportunities to speak – Give the child, person the chance to speak and express themselves. Some may lack confidence and need to time to be able to express what they are trying to say. Encourage children to ask questions, offer ideas and make suggestions.

Make eye contact and use active listening – If you say you are listening but are looking away it gives the child or person the message that you are not listening to them and are not really interested. Make sure that if someone is talking, you are giving them your full attention. You need to give the children your full attention and this may mean finding a quiet space so that you can actively listen to them without distractions from the other children.

Use body language and facial expressions - Make sure that you show you are interested by the way you act with children, young people and adults. Make sure you are approachable, get down to the child’s level as it can be intimidating if someone is towering over them. You should smile and react in a positive way to what they are saying.

React and comment on what they are saying restate language – You should repeat and back to pupils to check on your understanding, particularly if they have used incorrect language. For example, ‘I bringed my book in today’. You should say, ‘You brought your book in today’, so later on we will change it. In this way children are...
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