Communicating with children
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Assignment title: Communicating with children P2 Describe how to communicate with children using both verbal and non-verbal methods of communication by describing here situations as examples from your placement to highlight these methods. M1 Explain why communication skills are important to develop relationships with children in a placement setting. Give reasons to clearly support your explanation. D1 Evaluate your own communication skills when developing relationships with children in a placement setting by discussing relationships with children in a placement setting by discussing four of your strengths and four of your weaknesses in this area. Include a plan of how you intend to continue to develop your strengths and improve your weaknesses. P2 1. Situations from my placement that highlight verbal and non verbal communication methods was for example with Abigail aged 2 1/2 years. She is a very shy, quiet and timid girl. Thus, I did not use a loud voice when talking to her. At first I played with her doing puzzles. I smiled and expressed genuine pleasure when she tried to interact with me, positioned myself at her level and made a non-threatening eye-contact. At first I avoided asking her lots of questions and acknowledged her communications by answering or responding rather than simply giving praise. All of this paints a picture of openness and care for the child. Therefore she began to speak to me and so I listened to her carefully and responded to her too. By time, even if she remained shy, she began coming near me to talk to me even when I was not near her. She wanted me to go and play with her. She enjoyed also playing with puppets. Sometimes children who are reluctant to talk will say something to a puppet or cuddly toy. 2. Another situation is that of Dylan aged almost 3 years. He has speech problems comparing his age. I used puppets with him, because puppets help children talk and listen.
Jokes, smiles and laughs can help a child to relax and begin to trust the adult. However, sometimes people smile or laugh when they are embarrassed or do not know what to say. It is important to recognize what makes the adult uncomfortable or embarrassed, so that he/she can avoid reactions that will seem unsympathetic. Body language can communicate to other people how you are feeling. Body language is part of our personality. For example some people are more physically demonstrative than others. Gestures and positioning of the body can suggest a range of feelings including aggression, defensiveness, assertiveness.... They can also demonstrate a welcome, humour, warmth and openness. Thus the teacher/adult can observe and know how the child is feeling without speaking to him/her. Eye-contact is of extreme importance while communicating. Different societies vary in the amount of eye contact which is usual when an adult and a child are talking together. In some cultures children are told off if they do not look at the adult who is talking to them. In other societies they are considered rude if they do look at the adult instead of at the ground. It is certainly wrong for people to stare at each other, but a certain degree of looking at the other person is usually helpful. If the adult does not look at children at all, the adult will not notice if a child is upset or needs comforting. On the other hand, if the adult stares to a child, this can make him/her feel uncomfortable. With children who are very timid, it is best to allow time for them to gain confidence, and not to get too close to them or look at them too much at first. Cultures differ on how children are expected to behave in the presence of adults. Sometimes the custom is for them to sit, sometimes to stand.
Thus I encouraged to gain self confidence and self esteem in herself. Show interest and ask questions The way in which questions are phrased makes a difference to the answers you receive. Questions can be useful to clarify something you are unsure of and can indicate to the other person that you are interested in what they have to say by extending the conversation further. An open question offers the opportunity for a wide-ranging answer. While closed questions restrict the answer to one word such as "yes" or "no". For example after lunchtime I did not asked Tom (boy from the nursery aged 2 years 7 months) "Did you enjoy your lunch?" The likely answers he could give me were a "yes" or a "no". Instead I asked him "What do you prefer to eat at lunch time?" He answered "bread with cheese". This question offered the opportunity for a range of answers and therefore extends conversation. Listening Listening is not the same as hearing (as for example when listening to music). When you listen you need to take in the information and often act upon it. In my placement setting I was able to listen to children telling their interests, listened children asking for my help, and listened to them sharing their experiences of activities with me. A situation that occurred in the nursery was when I listened Paul crying as Alexia scribbled on his picture. I stopped what I was doing (that time I was helping the care clearing a table for lunch time) and sat down with Paul to listen to what he was saying. At first he was very distressed, but then he began to calm down with my full attention. Alexia did not have any attention from me. So Paul was able to explain to me what happened more clearly (using simple words). Then when he was completely calm and ready to go back to play, Alexia found a piece of paper for him to draw another picture.
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