The way we build relationships with children and young people changes according to the age and stage of their development. Responding to a 14-year-old in the same way as a 3-year-old is obviously not going to work. Reassurance and approval are important as children are beginning to develop an awareness of themselves, and it is important that their self-concept is a positive one. Play workers give reassurance and approval by smiling, praising or simply being alongside children as they try out something new. Children are quick to sense adults who are willing to spend the time listening properly to them.
In this phase of childhood, children need adults to talk, but particularly to listen to them and explore their ideas, feelings and thoughts. Reassurance and approval is important for children and it is important that, at times, this is given unconditionally, as children who learn that they are valued only if they are achieving or pleasing an adult can lose confidence. During these years, it is important that children learn that they can develop their own views and opinions and that play workers are interested in hearing them.
Young people still need good relationships with adults in many ways these relationships are as important as ever because they are likely to be undergoing significant changes in their lives as well as physically growing up. They need to be able to turn to adults for advice, reassurance and understanding. Young people are quick to identify play workers who will listen to them and empathise. It is important that the play worker not dismiss young people’s problems out of hand however trivial they may seem.
When young people feel that they are not being listened to, they often stop communicating altogether. This is worrying, as many young people ‘warm up’ by talking generally before deciding whether or not to talk to an adult about some deeper issues that are affecting them. Play workers can build good relationships with young people by respecting their views, which may be different from that of the play worker and also by giving them plenty of time and responsibility. It is also important when building relationships with children and young people to think about their needs and interests.
Children who come into the setting and do not speak the language, or who have some language delay, may still need opportunities for physical reassurance. Strategies that can be used for helping children and young people to feel welcome and valued in the play environment include: Greeting them in a friendly way, helping them separate from their parents/carers, finding out about their interests, including them in activities, encouraging them to make friends, valuing them as an individual e. g. heir culture and background, have a “hello” display in different languages, displaying their work, praising and rewarding them, spending time getting to know them, if possible, having a positive relationship with their parents, giving children a chance to have their say, having activities out that help them feel at ease, listening to what they have to say, valuing their opinion and generally making the experience a happy one. From the earliest age, we should be using markers of respect in English such as saying please and thank you.
We should also speak to children and young people using voice tones that are warm and courteous. Appropriate behaviour means behaving in a manner that is suitable for a play environment for example respecting the children and treating them as the play worker would wish to be treated. Play workers are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions, show mutual respect, maturity and common sense. Appropriate behaviour is respectful and healthy.
Inappropriate behaviour is hurtful and disrespectful. Yelling at a child or using harsh words are inappropriate, calm words telling a child that what they did was not right is appropriate and respectful. Appropriate behaviour is interacting with children and young people with respectful attitudes, words and behaviours. In contrast inappropriate behaviour is communicating with children and young people with irrelevant attitudes, words and behaviours which is not inductive to good relationships.
It is important to involve children and young people in decision making because it increases their life skills, helps them respect the views of others, can boost self-esteem, maintain morale, develop vocabulary, help play workers find out what children and young people require, increase their knowledge, verbalise thoughts, check understanding and help develop confidence.
Different strategies that can be used to involve children and young people in decision making include: creating a suggestions box and checking it regularly including children and young people in activity planning etting aside time for the discussion of ideas using every opportunity for talking and discussing, especially at meal times Acting on suggestions and ensuring (whenever possible) that activities requested are carried out and explaining rationale for those suggestions not acted upon. Creating a children and young people’s forum. Set up a forum, encourage participation and act on suggestions and ideas. Being non-judgemental offering alternatives rather than set advice; showing unconditional acceptance to children and young people, and their families.
Some children can negotiate better than others depending on their age, and what they have learned from their parents etc. For children and young people of a higher stage of development the choice method is used by giving them the appropriate choices they have and allowing them to choose. There is no one rule that applies to everyone; the play worker need to have some understanding of each person as an individual then base negotiations on such things as personality, wants, needs, etc.
Life with children and young people often involves negotiation, whether we like it or not. The negotiation between a play worker and children can actually be a great learning experience. If there were no negotiations , the children and young people may not learn how to deal with conflicts constructively. However, negotiating with children and young people is often a challenging process. Play workers need to learn how to manage their own emotions, frustrations and know that negotiation doesn’t mean giving in and is not about winning or losing.
The play worker should negotiate issues in age-appropriate ways, respond to criticism in an appropriate way, take time to cool down, write down solutions, discuss them openly but without criticism of anyone’s idea and it’s perfectly OK for the play worker to make the final decision, as long as they have heard the children’s point of view and tried to be fair. Children will come to respect that; they may not like it, but they will come to realize that it is fair.
Children thrive with words of encouragement and praise. Different approaches that can be used to show children and young people that their individuality is respected include: Encouraging children and young people to express their opinions by asking them what they think and acknowledge their replies. Giving explanations to back up what as been said. Offering opportunities for them to express themselves, e. g. role-play, modelling, painting, drawing, writing. Encouraging self-help and independence.
Give them responsibilities Introducing and encouraging new vocabulary Negotiating, listening to their side of disagreements, then come to an amicable agreement Making time for individual attention showing patience and understanding. Finding a common interest, e. g. video, music. Challenging stereotypical or racial discrimination, inappropriate terminology and swearing. Using humour appropriately; do not use put-downs or sarcasm, laugh at appropriate things, be sympathetic and show empathy.
Giving them space; use the correct supervision level, do not assume they always want an adult listening in Treating young people like adults; do not patronise or talk down to young people, empower them to express their opinions freely using communication to increase their vocabulary, by discussing issues . Using a variety of games to engage them in conversation, e. g. quizzes, board games, etc. Giving them responsibility; let them take on regular interesting jobs, e. g. setting out an activity and not just clearing away.
Clear communication is very important whilst interacting with children because communication break down can lead to confusion and upset. In some instances the children and young people may not be able to fully express themselves but having patience, getting down to their level and trying to communicate clearly will show the children and young people that the play worker is interested in what they are feeling. Children need to understand what are being asked of them or being told to them, so communication need o be clear. If a child feel they cannot understand what’s being said or asked of them they may lose confidence in their ability and start communicating less. Positive two-way communication is essential to building children and young people’s self-esteem. Clear communication is the key to building positive relationships, allowing children to learn and understand effectively how to communicate with adults usually enables them to take this skill and use it in other areas.
This ultimately has a positive effect on many things such as, speaking and listening tasks, being able to empathise with other people and improving their confidence and self esteem. Asking question is one way a child accumulates important knowledge, equally encouraging a child to suggest new ideas helps their creative thought and builds confidence. it is important for children to ask questions because it is one of the many ways they learn. It is also important for children to offer suggestions because it gets there mind thinking about solutions to problems, make them feel valued and appreciated.
Encouraging children to ask questions and express opinions helps to show children and young people that they are valued. If a play worker were to ignore a child or young person and not follow up their ideas and opinions, the child would feel undervalued, and this could affect their self-confidence and esteem. They could then withdraw from making further suggestions. Taking a bit of time to ask a child or young person how they are doing and really listening to the answer seems so simple but is so important, we may miss vital information if we do not take the time to really listen.
Making sure they listen and try to understand, the play worker can help a child or young person to know they are valued and their views are respected. It is important to listen to children so they know we are interested in what they have to say and that they are cared for. Effective listening entails respect and a belief that they are worth listening to. Play workers need to give children the respect as people in their own right, competent to express their views. Children’s ability to manage stress, feel confident and motivate themselves in later life has a lot to do with their early childhood experiences.
Different strategies that can be used to communicate with children and young people who have communication difficulties include: making eye contact when speaking to the child and listening to his or her reply with a friendly approach If necessary, ask short questions that require short answers, or a nod of the head and be at the same level (bend down for smaller children) using language they will understand. Listening carefully, showing concentration and interest
Speaking clearly and expressively checking understanding regularly by repeating the response Being patient, the play worker may need to explain things more than once speaking in a normal tone of voice A play worker can encourage children and young people to understand the value and importance of positive relationships with others by praising good behaviour, acting as positive role models such as praising nice manners. The play worker should also encourage children to play alongside each other, take turns and share, have awareness of their own needs, views and feelings and be sensitive to the needs, views and feelings of others.
The play worker can help children and young people consider the consequences of words and actions for self and others, take into account the ideas of others and to understand right and wrong. It is important for children and young people to value and respect other people’s individuality and feels to grow into kind, helpful, non-judgemental, tolerant, caring and respected members of society. Being respectful helps children succeed in life. If children don’t respect individuality and feeling in peers, authority or themselves, it’s almost impossible for them to succeed.
It is easier for children to work together and resolve differences if they are able to understand and accept other people’s differences/choices. The quality of relationships that we have with children and young people has a huge effect on the way in which they value and respect other people’s individuality and feelings. Different strategies a play worker can use to help children and young people value and respect other people’s individuality and feelings include: explaining that what we do for others is what they will do for us.
If we are kind to someone they will return the favour. encouraging Diversity by challenging children to get to know kids from many different backgrounds and perspectives. In addition to exposing children and young to more diversity, it will also help them learn more about themselves. being a good role model by showing respect and kindness towards people who are different, the children and young people will begin to see the world as an opportunity to learn from different types of people. xposing them to different things; unusual foods, interesting customs, different types of music and dances can be a way for children and young people to develop interest in and acceptance of people of different races/cultures rather than look down on people who are different. In order for children and young people to trust us, it is important that we can identify difficulties and help them wherever possible to find ways through them. It is essential that children and young people perceive our way of doing this as fair. Children and young people rely upon us, this means that it is essential that day after day, we are consistent.
Consistency means keeping behavioural boundaries in place. Children need to know that we will be fair with them. We will listen to what they have to say before jumping to conclusions and we will try to make sure that their needs are taken into consideration. Fairness is also something that adults need as well; parents will want to see that the way that their family is being treated is comparable with others, while staff members need to feel that their workplace is a fair one where everyone is expected to pull their weight.
Children and young people will need to receive respect and courtesy from us in order that they can extend these skills to others. It is important to be consistent and fair when dealing with both positive and negative behaviour so that the children have a reasonable expectation of what type of consequences, or effect their behaviour will have on them and others. Consistency is extremely important because children need set limits. When a child is allowed to do things and then reprimanded, it is confusing to them.
These children will push the limits while thinking it is okay to do so. Consistency will help children to understand what is tolerable or acceptable. Being fair is only right. Children should be taught that for every action there is a consequence. When play workers are consistent from the start, children learn what they can expect from them. Consistency gives a child a sense of security. Keeping regular routines with children is also an important part of consistency.
Days are less chaotic and arguments more infrequent if a child knows what is expected of them. Consistency helps children and young people develop a sense of responsibility in that they know exactly what is required of them. Children are also less likely to test boundaries or push limits that are firmly set when they know that there will be consequences for deviant behaviour. They learn that “no” means “no. ” Consistency teaches children cause-and-effect relationships, which helps them as they grow to make wiser decisions.