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Effective Communication with Children Learning Outcome 5 Element 5.1.1 Children are effective communicators. Free Information for Family Members Date: INTRODUCTION Effectively communication with children can often be a daunting task for family members and children’s services professionals. However, learning and integrating effective communication skills are crucial in terms of developing and maintaining positive relationships with children. It is important for adults to model positive communication skills in order to English is an additional language. develop the child’s skills and language. As a result, violence, hostility, Be aware that some children and young people do not communicate verbally and that you need children will avoid negative communication such as manipulation, Consider culture and context, for example where to adapt your style of communication to their whinging, needs and abilities. withdrawal and aggression. EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION CONSIDERATIONS EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES Communication is not just about the words you use appropriate language and modify tone and use, but also your manner of speaking, body language and, above all, the effectiveness with Establish eye contact (where possible), be clear, volume as appropriate. which you listen. Invest time to regularly interact with your child. This may include taking advantage of times such as meal times, driving, playing, reading and bedtimes. Respect your child while they are talking. Listen to and remember what they say, and offer comments without interrupting their thoughts or sentences. If we communicate something positive, it brings back something positive to us. Similarly, if we communicate something negative, it brings back something negative to us. Asks questions to check your understanding and acknowledge that you have heard what is being said. Avoid making assumptions. Positively reinforce what your child has told you and thank them for sharing information with you. This will help build a trusting relationship, from which the child’s confidence will develop. Always maintain honesty. Tell your child the truth in an age-appropriate manner. This includes apologising for any mistakes that you might make. This will prompt your child to give alternative and more meaningful answers than “yes” or “no”. Acknowledge and offer support regarding your child’s emotional wellbeing. Try and see things from a child’s perspective, and offer empathetic comments such as, “I can see that you are feeling Regularly praise and acknowledge your child’s very upset today. Can I do accomplishments, interests or developments as something to make you feel this will help boost their confidence. better?” Discuss with your child any expectations you may have of them in particular contexts. For example, “Stephanie, do you remember our rules for the Ask your child open-ended questions. For example, “What did you enjoy most about school Maria?” or “Why is yellow your favourite colour Andrew?” supermarket?” This will reinforce your expectations, and will prompt the child to take responsibility for their actions.