Understand How to Communicate with Children, Young People and Adults

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Learning Outcome 2 : Understand how to communicate with children, young people and adults.

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

We communicate with people every day, but sometimes we do not adjust our communication style to the audience or situation at hand. This can lead to confusion, hurt feelings, or misunderstandings. Learn how to adapt the way you communicate to different situations by considering the many factors that influence the effectiveness of your communication. When communicating with children and young people a number of skills are necessary. These skills are inbuilt and we use them naturally without realising. Children learn to communicate through the responses and reactions of others. This would suggest that the less they feel valued and listened to the less likely they are to initiate communication. Some children lack confidence and may need time to get used to the idea of communicating. This could be because they have little opportunity to express their thoughts and opinions with adults and so need to be given sufficient opportunity to talk. It is really crucial that whilst the child is talking you demonstrate to them that they are the focus of your attention and that you are genuinely interested in what they are saying. Showing that you are interested with the use of body language and facial expressions and also by smiling and reacting in a positive way can really help the child relax and communicate more freely. Mraintaining a distance by not sitting too close or not standing directly over them can help to reduce stress levels and is generally less intimidating for the child. At times it may be necessary to repeat back to a child what they have said, really to ascertain that you have correctly understood what they are saying. This is also a subtle way of correcting a child’s delivery if they have worded something incorrectly ie:’ I went up town, that’s why I were late’. ‘oh I see, you went into town and that’s why you are late? That makes sense’. This will gently impress on the child the correct way to speak. Children need to learn how to converse and it is up to adults to teach them the ‘norms’ so that they can learn and understand how effective communication works. They will learn mostly through experience and will copy what they see and hear so by showing interest and responding to their questions will help them to feel relaxed and confident and will make them feel that their contribution is valued. The ability to make suggestions and express their ideas is a crucial step towards forming positive relationships. Good communication is central to working with children and parents/carers. It involves listening, questioning, understanding and responding to what is being communicated by children, young people and those who are caring for them.

It is important to be able to communicate on a one to one basis and in a group context. Communication is a two way process and is not just about the words you use, but also your manner of speaking, body language and the effectiveness of how you listen. To communicate effectively you must take into account the culture and context of the person, for example where English is an addition language.

Also being aware of different ways of communication for example electronic channels, and that some children, young people or parents/carers may not understand what is being communicated.

Verbal Communication:
•Speaking.
•Using your tone of voice.
•Expressions i.e. pauses, stresses on words.
•Whispering.
•Greeting.
•Group communication.
•Formal or informal meetings.
•Telephone conversations.
•Written communication (letters, e-mail, notes, information) •Reading.

Non verbal communication:
•Eye contact and movement.
•Facial expressions i.e. frowning, smiling.
•Hand gestures and movements.
•Body language and posture.
•Head movements i.e. nodding.
•Sign language.
•Touching or closeness i.e. invading someone’s...
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