Effective communication

Did you know?

Everything we say and do when we're around children can impact on their perception of appropriate behaviour and ways of expressing feelings.

Communication is the basis of all our relationships. It makes it possible for us to share our interests and concerns, make decisions and manage our lives, help each other, and care for our children. It is about how we talk, how we listen, and what our body is saying while we do this.

In simple terms, communication can be called effective when the message the sender intended to send is received and understood by the receiver. There are many ways to communicate. Sometimes we are communicating without even realising it. What we say, what we do with our hands, the expression on our face or even how we stand all convey information to listeners and to onlookers.

Verbal and non-verbal communication

Verbal communication is basically the words that come out of our mouths. Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that. It includes not just the words we use, but also our tone of voice and our manner and as we say them.

Non-verbal communication is the messages we send without using spoken words. This can be intentional, and includes things like waving or smiling in greeting, or sending emails and texts. Or it can be unintentional, and includes things like gestures, facial expressions and body language.

You can read Verbal and non-verbal communication and Body language to find out more about this.

Audience awareness

We know that we need to match our communication to our audience in all of our interactions. When we’re communicating with children, this is even more important. Our choice of language and tone needs to match their level of understanding and development. We also need to be mindful that children with limited language skills are even more likely to be paying attention to our non-verbal communications, like our facial expression and tone of voice. They watch us talking with their parents/carers, and with our fellow workers, and may interpret the things we say in these adult conversations a little differently to how we intended them.

Read Modelling appropriate communication to find out more.

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It’s almost lunch time at Cybertots and you want the children in your room to get ready.

Choose two of the age groups (from 0-2’s, 2-3’s, 3-5’s, 6-12’s) and decide what instructions you need to give them and how you would phrase these instructions. What other support or assistance might you need to give?

Write your two responses in your notebook.

Asking questions

When asking questions of children, they will need time to form their responses and to express their ideas and thoughts. They will also need differing levels of support and encouragement. Read Questioning to find out more.

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You should now have learned quite a lot about communication.

In your notebook write down 5 important points you need to consider when communicating with children.