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Differences in communication with children and young people across age ranges and stages of developm

Common Core of Skills and Knowledge Effective communication with children, young people and families The text below is taken from the Common core of skills and knowledge for the children's workforce.

You can also download a PDF version of the document. Good communication is central to working with children, young people, families and carers. It helps build trust, and encourages them to seek advice and use services. It is key to establishing and maintaining relationships, and is an active process that involves listening, questioning, understanding and responding. It is important to be able to communicate both on a one-on-one basis and in a group.

You need to feel and show empathy and sincerity, and above all, listen. You need to take account of culture and context.

For example, you need to be aware and communicate appropriately if English is an additional language, or the child is disabled or at risk of under-achievement or other poor outcomes.

Effective communication extends to involving children, young people, their parents and carers in the design and delivery of services and decisions that affect them. It is important to consult the people affected and consider opinions and perspectives from the outset.

Child Development: Ages and Stages

Another crucial element of effective communication is developing trust between the workforce and children, young people, parents and carers — as well as within different sectors of the workforce itself.

To build a rapport with children, young people, their parents and carers, it is important to be respectful, understanding and honest. People become engaged when relationships are continuous, and their lives improve as a result. The skills and knowledge highlighted here and throughout the Common Core provide a basic description of areas that may need development through training, learning or experience in order to work effectively. Skills Listening and building empathy Establish a rapport and build respectful, trusting, honest and supportive relationships with children, young people, their families and carers, which make them feel valued as partners.

Use clear language to communicate with all children, young people, families and carers, including people who find communication difficult, or are at risk of exclusion or under-achievement.

Be able to adapt styles of communication to the needs and abilities of children and young people who do not communicate verbally, or communicate in different ways. Build a rapport and develop relationships using the most appropriate forms of communication for example, spoken language, visual communication, play, body and sign language, information and communication technologies to meet the needs of the individual child or young person and their families and carers.

Hold conversations at the appropriate time and place, understanding the value of regular, reliable contact and recognising that it takes time to build a relationship.

  1. Summarising and explaining Summarise situations in the appropriate way for the individual taking into account factors such as background, age and personality. Know how to check understanding.
  2. Another crucial element of effective communication is developing trust between the workforce and children, young people, parents and carers — as well as within different sectors of the workforce itself. Understand that certain issues such as sex, death and violence are particularly sensitive or difficult and that children, young people or their families may sometimes associate or experience stigma with certain issues, such as mental health problems.
  3. If this happens, make sure the child or young person understands what is happening and why, unless to do so would increase the risk of harm to them or another person.
  4. Be respectful by actively listening and avoiding assumptions.
  5. Acknowledge what has been said, and check you have heard correctly.

Actively listen in a calm, open, non-judgemental, non-threatening way and use open questions. Acknowledge what has been said, and check you have heard correctly. Make sure that children, young people, parents and carers know they can communicate their needs and ask for help.

Summarising and explaining Summarise situations in the appropriate way for the individual taking into account factors such as background, age and personality. Present genuine choices to children and young people, explaining what has happened or will happen next, and what they are consenting to. Decide together how to involve parents or carers in the choices to be made.

  • It helps build trust, and encourages them to seek advice and use services;
  • Using language also involves subtle communication such as the use of body language, facial expression, tone of voice and non-literal language as well as knowing how to take turns in talking;
  • Be able to adapt styles of communication to the needs and abilities of children and young people who do not communicate verbally, or communicate in different ways;
  • Be aware of different ways of communicating — including technological methods;
  • To process these similarities and differences the child needs;
  • Be able to adapt styles of communication to the needs and abilities of children and young people who do not communicate verbally, or communicate in different ways.

Consultation and negotiation Consult the child or young person, and their parents or carers from the beginning of the process. Make informed judgements about how to involve children, young people, parents and carers in decisions as far as is possible and appropriate. Take account of their views and what they want to see happen. Be honest about the weight of their opinions and wishes. Inform, involve and help the child or young person to express what they are feeling. Help them to describe what they are experiencing and to assess different courses of action.

Help them understand the consequences of each and, where appropriate, agree next steps.

Recognise that different people have different interests in a situation and be able to work with them to reach the best and most fair conclusion for the child or young person. Share reasons for action with the child or young person and their parent or carer, unless to do so would increase the risk of harm to them or another person.

Ages and Stages

Judge when, and how, to hand over control of a situation to others. Knowledge How communication works Understand the value of the role of parents and carers, and know how and when to refer them to further sources of information, advice or support. Know that communication is a two-way process.

  1. It helps build trust, and encourages them to seek advice and use services.
  2. These are words with meaning. Share reasons for action with the child or young person and their parent or carer, unless to do so would increase the risk of harm to them or another person.
  3. If this happens, make sure the child or young person understands what is happening and why, unless to do so would increase the risk of harm to them or another person. Language development and language disorders.
  4. People become engaged when relationships are continuous, and their lives improve as a result. It is important to consult the people affected and consider opinions and perspectives from the outset.
  5. Knowledge How communication works Understand the value of the role of parents and carers, and know how and when to refer them to further sources of information, advice or support.

Know how to listen to people, make them feel valued and involved. Understand the importance of building good relationships with children, young people, their parents and carers. Know when it is important to focus on individuals and when it is important to focus on groups. Know how your attitude and behaviour have an effect on children, young people, their parents and carers, and the importance of offering praise and support.

Understand the effects of non-verbal communication such as body language, and that different cultures use and interpret body language in different ways. Be aware of different ways of communicating — including technological methods.

Understand barriers to communication, which could include poverty, cultural or faith requirements, disability, disadvantage or anxiety about accessing services. Understand that parents and carers are partners who have the lead role and responsibility for children and young people. Involving them in decisions affecting their child can have a positive effect on supporting their children to achieve positive outcomes. Be aware that communication may be inhibited by factors such as cultural background.

Understand that certain issues such as sex, death and violence are particularly sensitive or difficult and that children, young people or their families may sometimes associate or experience stigma with certain issues, such as mental health problems. It may be necessary to explain to children, young people, parents and carers that it is helpful to discuss them.

Be aware that the child, young person, parent or carer may not have understood what is being communicated.

The first stop for information on children’s communication

Know how to check understanding. Know how to report and record information formally and informally in the appropriate way for the audience. Understand that sometimes it is necessary to go against a child, young person, parent or carer's expressed wishes in the best interests of the child or young person. If this happens, make sure the child or young person understands what is happening and why, unless to do so would increase the risk of harm to them or another person.

Sources of support Know where information, advice and support services for children, young people, parents and carers are available locally. Importance of respect Be self aware. Know how to demonstrate a commitment to treating all people fairly.

  • Know how to check understanding;
  • Knowledge How communication works Understand the value of the role of parents and carers, and know how and when to refer them to further sources of information, advice or support;
  • Consultation and negotiation Consult the child or young person, and their parents or carers from the beginning of the process.

Be respectful by actively listening and avoiding assumptions. Make sure your actions support the equality, diversity, rights and responsibilities of children, young people, their parents and carers.