In order to build a strong bond with a child or a group of kids, you need to communicate with them in the correct manner. Applying the right type of communication skills can help you get children to listen to you when you need it the most.
It also helps to build trust and kids will enjoy spending time with you. It's no secret that possessing the right set of communication skills does make working in the child care sector much easier.
Those who have worked with or raised children will definitely tell you that you can't show your anger if a child doesn't listen to you. But at the same time, you need to a show a degree of assertiveness to prevent kids from running riot.
So how do you show the right balance of assertiveness and playfulness when communicating with children? Well this particular characteristic can be learnt, but it can't be taught overnight. So to help you get started, I have shared 3 tips to help you communicate to a child more effectively.
Be A Good Listener
Nothing raises a child's self-esteem than making them feel they're acknowledged and appreciated. And the best way to do that is to listen to them.
So when a child has something to say, and it could be anything, make sure you're fully engaged with them. No matter what they say, give them 100% attention. Even when it can be difficult to understand.
If you're on your phone or reading a paper during your break and a child comes to you to speak to you about anything, put it away. It's little things like these that makes a child feel they're being listened too.
Not only will a child's own self-esteem and self-confidence will greatly improve if you devote energy in to listening to them, you will also strengthen the bond between yourself and the child.
Offer Words Of Encouragement (And Avoid Negative Criticism)
It's no secret that a child thrives on receiving positive attention. And it's also not a secret to say that a child will be discouraged when receiving negative criticism. Hence why it absolutely important to give words of encouragement.
The more encouragement you provide to a child, it raises their confidence levels. It is also strengthens the relationship that you have with the child.
Examples of words of encouragement are:
"You're showing good signs of improvement in _____ each day”
“Thank you for doing _____ without me having to ask, you're such a good boy/girl”
As for negative criticism, you have to be very careful in how you approach this. If a child has done something wrong, then you need to exercise some assertiveness. But it is crucial that you don't snap or get angry with the child.
If you do feel angry, take some time away before you speak to the child. This way, you will calm down. It is crucial that you address the child to feedback any negative criticism in order for them to learn from their mistakes.
When addressing the negative, you can let kids know how their actions are causing negative consequences by simply asking them how they would feel if someone else did the same thing to them. Here's an example:
“Hi _____, you're usually a good boy/girl, but what you did to _____ is rather unfair. How would you feel if someone did that to you?”
How you interact with a child really impacts their future. So to finish off this post, I'd like to share the following words that I found on Child Development Institute
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love.
If a child lives with recognition, he learns it is good to have a goal.
If a child lives with honesty he learns what truth is.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith in himself and those about him.
If a child lives with friendliness, he learns the world is a nice place in which to live to love and be loved.
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