Communication and Professional Relationships with Children and Young People

Categories: Society

1. Know how to interact with and respond to children and young people.

1.1. Describe how to establish respectful, professional relationships with children and young people.

The starting point in working effectively with children of all ages is your relationship with them. Children who feel valued and who enjoy being with you will respond better. This means that they are more likely to enjoy playing and learning and are far more likely to behave well. The basis of forming a relationship with children is to consider what their needs may be and to adapt the way in which you work to meet these needs to suit the age or stage of development.

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You need to make sure that children are always able to turn to someone when they are upset, disappointed or dealing with problems. They need familiar, friendly and supported faces. This means you need to be a good listener.

1.2. Describe with examples how to behave appropriately for a child or young person’s stage of development.

It is important that when you are communicating with children you take into account their stage of development.

Pupils in foundation stage and KS1 These children are still very young and are still developing their communication skills. When speaking to them, ensure that you get down to their level and not towering over them, as this can be very intimidating for them. You need to give clear instructions and check that they understand fully. This age of children tire quickly and will not maintain concentration for long periods so it is important that they understand.

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They will also need reminding that is important to listen and take turns when speaking.

Pupils in KS2

This is the stage where their communication has progressed. They will be used to more formal conversation and will be less self-centred. Some may still need to be reminded about waiting their turn.

Pupils in KS3

They will know and understand different ways in which we can communicate. Teenagers may become more self-conscious about speaking in front of others and may get embarrassed more easily. It is important that they are given more time in groups to build up confidence.

1.3. Describe how to deal with disagreements between children and young people.

Disagreements will occur on a regular basis, many at break and lunch times, but also in the classroom. It is important that when dealing with a problem that you find out exactly what happened and hear both sides of the story. They need to know that they have been heard and that their point has been put across. You will need to decide if one of them or both were at fault, if apologies need to be made and if any further action is required, such as talking to another member of staff.

1.4. Describe how own behaviour could:

promote effective interactions with children and young people

Children always look up to adults and will take lead from adults around them. If we show good behaviour then they will take that in. impact negatively on interactions with children and young people

We can’t tell them to do something when we do not do it ourselves!

2. Know how to interact with and respond to adults.

2.1. Describe how to establish respectful, professional relationships with adults.

Most teachers accept that all children are unique and different, but sometimes they expect all adults to have the same views as themselves. This is hardly the case, and you need to be ready to respect adults who have a different opinion or have a very different lifestyle. When you are able to do this, everyone benefits. Parents may feel able to talk to you more freely, while you may learn from colleagues who see things from a different perspective. You need to approach and respond politely, be committed to cooperative working.

2.2. Describe the importance of adult relationships as role models for children and young people.

Children always benefit when the adults around them are able to collaborate. Parents are more likely to support you and share information if you have developed a strong relationship with them. In the same way, children are more likely to get prompt support from professionals outside the setting if you have built a good working relationship with them. Children are also sensitive to the way in which you work with colleagues. They will notice the atmosphere and model their own behaviour on the way in which you treat each other.

3. Know how to communicate with children, young people and adults.

Very young children often aren't able to express their thoughts and feelings in words, or express them poorly. Because of this, it's important that adults working with them can listen carefully and help children to learn how to express themselves and also provide what they need. Adapt vocabulary and repeat what you have said when speaking to younger pupils to check on their understanding. Children are 'social learners' and learn by copying other people, so any adults working with them should model good communication, both speaking and listening, so that children will learn from them. Children need to know that they are being listened to and heard. This helps them to build up a rapport and trust with adults and promotes better relationships.

The more you learn how to listen to children, the better you will be able to assess their abilities and interests and plan for their next steps in learning and development. You will also get to know them well and then you can support their emotional needs by being in tune with them. The better and sooner children learn to communicate, the more easily they will form friendships and their confidence and self-esteem will increase.

3.1. Describe how communication with children and young people differs across different age ranges and stages of development.

Younger than 2 years Vocabulary is limited. Communicating mainly through body language and by reading facial expressions.

2–3 years Starting to copy adults, learning more words and gaining confidence. 3–4 years Starting to string words together and may be using questions.

For children aged 2-4 years, once they have a few words, adults can help them by showing an interest in what they are saying. Adults can listen to what children say and repeat it. Sometimes they might repeat it so that children can hear the phrase correctly. This helps children learn without knowing it. This is better than telling children that they have said it wrong. Adults can also help a child’s communication by exposing new words to them.

4–8 years Using language to build relationships. Developing reading and writing skills.

8–16 years Developing discussion and negotiation skills. More confident and using more complex language.

Adults Can communicate using complex language. Able to use verbal and non-verbal communication.

3.2. Describe the main differences between communicating with adults and communicating with children and young people.

When communicating with children, we need to be very clear in what we say. They need to be very clear on what we expect of them, so that they learn to communicate well themselves. We need to try not to use complicated language or give them long lists of instructions, they will only make what we are saying more difficult to take in.

3.3. Identify examples of communication difficulties that may exist.

You should adapt the way in which you communicate according to their needs. They may have a speech impediment for example and may struggle with words. Allow them to take their time and do not fill words in for them or guess what they are going to say as this will cause them more distress. Sign language may need to be used for a child with hearing difficulties and extra training may be needed. Different ideas – People may interpret things differently and have a different concept of what everyone should be doing. Poor communication – Not passing on information and failing to agree as a team can cause problems within school. Different personalities – Everyone is different and sometimes, despite the best efforts, certain individuals just cannot get along. Cultural differences - May communicate in a different way. For example, in some cultures eye contact in not encouraged.

3.4 .Describe how to adapt communication to meet different communication needs.

How we communicate to one another depends on several things, the age of the person we are speaking to, the context of the conversation and the communication needs of the individual. This applies to both children and adults. We frequently adapt the way we communicate to someone without realising it. If speaking to someone with a hearing impediment, we make sure to speak clearly. Some families may speak another language as their main one and may need a translator.

3.5. Describe how to deal with disagreements between:

the practitioner and children and young people

Disagreements with children need to be managed carefully and if necessary, seek advice. If a pupil is arguing with you, you should tell them that you are not going to discuss anything with them until you have both taken time out.

the practitioner and other adults

Any conflicts with other adults need to be resolved as soon as possible and you will need to show sensitivity. The longer a problem goes on for, the harder and more difficult it will be to put right. Sometimes getting another adult to mediate. It is impossible to work effectively if the atmosphere is tensed.

4. Know about the current legislation, policies and procedures for confidentiality and sharing information, including data protection.

4.1. Identify relevant legal requirements and procedures covering confidentiality, data protection and the disclosure of information.

Data Protection Act (1998) – Legislation that ensures pupils’ personal information is locked away or password-protected if stored on computers.

Every Child Matters - This green paper stresses the Importance of more integrated services and sharing of information between professionals.

Confidentiality – Safeguarding all pupil information and ensuring that the people you are sharing information with are authorised to receive it.

Disclosing information – When information has to be shared with outside agencies, for example, when neglect or abuse is suspected.

4.2. Describe the importance of reassuring children, young people and adults of the confidentiality of shared information and the limits of this.

As a learning support practitioner, you will come into regular contact with confidential information. You may need to reassure parents and other adults that the information that you are authorised to know will be kept confidential. Pupil records that hold their personal information, date of birth, home address and medical details are important for you to have access to in an emergency, but they must remain locked away otherwise. You may need to know other information about the pupil, such as their current assessment level or if they have any special educational needs. This information must remain confidential and can only be shared between authorised staff members.

4.3. Identify the kinds of situations when confidentiality protocols must be breached.

If you receive information, for example, if someone confides in you, it is important to remember that there are some situations in which you need to tell others. An example is if you are told of child abuse or another situation in which the child is at risk. At all times though it is important to tell the individual that if they give you information that you cannot keep to yourself, that you will not be able to keep it confidential

Updated: Nov 01, 2022
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Communication and Professional Relationships with Children and Young People. (2016, Sep 09). Retrieved from

Communication and Professional Relationships with Children and Young People essay
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