Whilst communicating with children and young people, we ought to make sure that we take into account their stage of development. Children of diverse needs and ages will need different levels of attention and support according to their need and the duration of time they can focus for. As we develop into more qualified working with children we will begin to recognize the features which we may meet with different age groups.
4-7 year olds:- When speaking to children be clear and ensure their understanding by asking them to replicate what you said, back to you.- Be patient, you might need to explain things more than one time. – Do not suppose they will not understand.- Listen carefully; show children you are concentrating and involved.
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– Use eye contact.- Keep a friendly approach; smile, listen and usually be easy to talk to.- Ensure you get down to their height so that you are not towering over them as this can be very intimidating for Children.
8-12 years: – promote children and young people to express their opinions and ask them what they think and recognize their replies.- Give explanations to support what you are saying.- cheer self-help and independence.- present them responsibilities.- initiate and encourage new vocabulary.13-16 years: – discuss and look for compromises; pay attention to their reasons.- Use humour fittingly; do not use sarcasm.
– Be sympathetic and demonstrate empathy.- provide young people space; use the right supervision level, don’t assume they constantly want an adult listening in.- Treat them like adults; do not demean or talk down to young people.- Use a general interest, e.g. music, games, to connect them in conversation.
– present them with responsibility; allow them to take on normal interesting jobs, e.g. carrying out an activity and not just clearing away