Effective communication with children, young people and families
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. You should always communicate with them appropriately to match the stage of development, personal circumstances, and needs of the person you’re talking to.
It is important to be able to communicate both on a one-on-one basis and in a group. Communication is not just about the words you use, but also about the way ...view middle of the document...
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.
• 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.
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.
• Judge when, and how, to hand over control of a situation to others.
How communication works
• Understand the value of the role of parents and...