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Effective communication between parent and children – the most important and difficult field of communication. There should be logical way and scientific approach according to different needs and requirements. To understand the process in a better way, here are some key points to be considered before stepping on to it.
- Demonstrate judgements regarding the importance of effective communication with children and families
It is very hard to understand the psychology of children in a family or a society but it is extremely important to understand that as it affects the behavior of a kid on a huge basis.
There are some key reasons that show that why it is so important to have an effective communication with children and families:-
- A positive relationship between children and their families is vital for the young’s children’s well being
- Parents are the kid’s first teacher, they learn from them only
- Parents’ behavior as in what do they follow at home with their young babies and children has a major impact on intellectual, social and emotional development
- Better relationships amongst children and parents are achieved through better communication only
- A clear and thorough communication or talk can omit all the misunderstandings and the possible barriers.
It is important to share your previous experience and what you already know about communicating with parents and children and its significance as it helps you a lot while learning new things. It will clear the objective of understanding the importance of communicating between children and parents more easily.
“It is not who you are as a parent that enables your children to be effective learners but what you do that makes a difference” (Peers Early Education Partnership 2005)
These lines says all…you need to understand your responsibility towards the children and learn how to communicate to make them better for future.
Here, in the communication part with the children, the professional relationship is important as well. For brief, professionals have contracted through a formal agreement to be responsible for the care and wellbeing of someone else’s child. So, there is very thin line between professional friendliness and relationship with children and as a parent you need to understand that properly. (Anon., 2005)
- Employ the principles of how communication works, children’s early communication skills and supporting strategies and approaches
Communication works in many ways, it helps building relationships. Communication can actually start with children’s early communication skills as well. The children’s early communication includes various different ways:-
- Looking into your eyes
- Babble and ‘talk’ – pretend conversations
Now how can we, as parents talk to them? The process of communication with babies involves a many ways like as follows:-
- Talking to them in a very special manner
- Touching them and make them feel safe and secure
- Playing with them making expressions and faces
- For a baby’s well-being and development, emotionally and intellectually; sensitive and responsive communication is extremely important. It makes the child feel at home amongst the loved ones
- Babies are the most ready ones to talk and play with people when they are awake, playful and alert
- Recognize the baby’s state, try and respond to it in a particular way and support the babies in developing a sense of self
- You just follow what the baby is trying to convey
- Try and talk to the baby in the manner thinking what it is like for the baby
- You can help the baby regulate its own mood by playful gestures, music and expressions
- Read their signals and respond to them accordingly. Those who does that develops a strong bond with the babies
- Nonverbal communication is best at the early stage of communication with the babies
- Be and look positive all the time in front of the babies, it is important for their growth of the social brain. The positive looks stimulates the social growth of the babies
- Evaluate barriers and challenges which may impact upon effective communication between practitioners, children and families
Barriers and challenges in effective communication are those factors that hinder good communication between practitioners, parent and children. These barriers take shape according to the situations and places such as at a societal level, Brandt (1998) notes that the parents or people in general are becoming increasingly estranged from public institutions. Sometimes it is actually very problematic and hard to reach families. To solve this problem, first of all make a note about who are the families that you think may find it hard to reach and communicate with services? Then spend time with them discussing different issues faced while establishing effective communication between parents and children.
These families may have characteristics as follows:
- Different cultural backgrounds
- English as an additional language
- Different family backgrounds
- Different personalities
- Lack of confidence and self esteem
- Learning difficulties
- Literacy skills
- Physical difficulties
- Psychological difficulties
All these characteristics act differently during the establishment of effective communication between parents and children.
For example, sometimes parents cannot cope up with the changing trend and thus the gap of understanding between their cultural preferences and the children’ cultural preferences widens. Also, if the practitioners use “their own cultural lenses” to interact with culturally and linguistically diverse parents, there occurs a problem.
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Let’s take another example regarding psychological difficulties. On a parental level, a parent’s own negative school experiences may impact positive relationships with teachers, or parents may simply not understand how to effectively interact with the children regarding their educational system.
Similarly, economic, time constraints, lack of technology may also be primary obstacles to effective communication.
All these barriers and challenges may be eliminated with a traditional yet significant 5-15 minute parent conference that offers little time for meaningful communication regarding a child’s academic and social progress. This can be act as an open platform for interaction within practitioners, parents and children. (NCB, 2008)
- Reflect on the importance of enabling positive environments to promote communication between children, families and professionals
For establishing an effective communication between professionals, parents and children, it is extremely vital to create a positive environment for the communication to take place. As a professional, you soon learn that children and parents are a two-for-one deal: Developing confident relationships with parents is precarious for providing the best care possible to their children. So being friends with the parents help a lot here. To ensure the same, as a parent, you can test it.
For example, Amanda got into her car, really angry. When she dropped off her 22-month-old, Nyra, that morning, she mentioned to the baby sitter and her friend, Reeta (who look after Nyra), how impossible Nyra has been in the mornings. She drags her feet, doesn’t want to get dressed, pitches a fit about which outfit to wear—it’s been practically impossible to get her out the door. But to her surprise, Radhika tells Anna that Nyra is an angel while talking to her. She listens each and everything that Radhika asks for and thus Anna is relieved that her child is in safe hands.
For understanding the children in a better way, you first need to be more close to the parents by following these simple steps:-
- Notice how you are feeling with kid’s beahviour
- Look at the interaction from the child’s point of view. Develop a sense of grasping the surroundings with a child’s eye
- Partner with parents, talk to them more-n-more and understand their need
- Look for a scope of compromise
- Tell the parents not to fight or create an awkward situation in front of their kids
- Ask them not to follow their so called bad habits in front of the kids and try and avoid such stuff as much as possible
- Listen to children and their queries, needs and expectations and act and ask the parents too to act accordingly
- Promote healthy and knowledgeable practices at home and so on (McDonald, n.d.)
- Importance and role of intervention strategies, approaches and techniques supporting the development of effective communication
In developing effective communication between parents and children, supporting intervention strategies, approaches and techniques act as major helping factors.
What is intervention strategy?
According to Desforges (2003), in the intervention strategy, effective settings consider what the major barriers are for their own communities and work proactively to remove them.
The strategy involves
- Establishing formal and casual relationships with families and children
- Knowing the families in a much detailed and better way but not intervening somehow is a thing to keep in mind
- Talking and discussing about the needs and expectations of families
- Offering a good range of options and choices for involvement and participation in the learning process that are truly match with the family colors
- Observe and observe the knowledge and understanding level of the parents, value them and try to enhance the same incorporating different techniques
Now, what are techniques?
You can follow several techniques to achieve your aim of effective communication:-
- Ensure a friendly warm welcome to parents by keeping in mind their expectations
- Ensure physical environment is welcoming. This is because it encourages the proximity factor
- Proactively plan how to include families like organizing a fun seminar or some musical learning process
- Ensure all staff have training in inclusion and equalities policies and procedures
- Home visits may be planned to help develop relationships with parents and children at the same time
- Ensure all aspects of family life are considered properly e.g. child-minding
For the approach part, you can create and develop your own or just research and follow that suits you the best like The Hanen Approach says, there are three main steps of developing effective communication i.e.
Collectively, these steps are referred as Owling Similarly, you can consider the Camden’s communication approach which says:-
Stop, Look and Listen
Here too, the listen factor is being emphasized. So, for any approach, the listening habit should be developed prominently. (Anon., 2012)
- Professional skills and attributes in developing positive communications with children and families
The professional skills and attributes while establishing or developing positive communications with children and families involve certain practices. Majorly divided in three groups namely, Collaborative, Effective and Reflective, these practices are as follows:-
1. Family-centered practice
2. Partnerships with professionals
3. High expectations for every child
4. Equity and diversity
5. Respectful relationships and responsive engagement
6. Integrated teaching and learning approaches
7. Assessment for learning and development
8. Reflective practice i.e. how to react to certain communication or actions
Professionals collaborate with families and the children for effective communication. They communicate and plan partnership ways to achieve the best practice to be followed
They work in groups across different planned settings so as to support the positive behavioural changes and attitude/ learning transitions for children
They always ready to learn from each other as effective communication is a give and take relationship
The professionals try to understand their own and others’ roles as well. After understanding the same, they make referrals whenever and wherever there is a need
These professionals are truly committed to work in partnership and in groups so that they can achieve the best possible results for children
The skills in quick look-
- The professionals work collaboratively to share information and messages. They logically plan communication procedures to ensure universal approaches to kids learning and development
- Each professional understand another’s practice, skills and expertise so as to get inspired and make referrals whenever needed according to the appropriate situation
- Acknowledging the significance of changes within and across early juvenile services and schools is one of the main skills the professional should possess. It is in order to ensure that children understand the process and have an active role in preparing for these transitions
- They build on kids’ prior learning and involvements to build continuity for their learning journey and development of personality (Aguliar, 2011)
The key formula for effective communication is to observe, listen and think and then act. You just need to be logical and updated in terms of planning procedures. Observe the behavioural pattern of children, their growing needs, expectations; understand the cultural values and beliefs of their parents and mix them well according to the latest trend because for an effective communication, one need to be updated and well informed.
Aguliar, E., 2011. 20 Tips for Developing Positive Relationships With Parents. [Online] Available at: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/20-tips-developing-positive-relationships-parents-elena-aguilar [Accessed 29 April 2015].
Anon., 2005. National Literacy Trust. [Online] Available at: http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/talk_to_your_baby/policy_research/1713_research_birth_to_school_study-a_longitudinal_evaluation_of_the_peers_early_education_partnership_peep_1998-2005 [Accessed 29 April 2015].
Anon., 2008. The National Strategies. [Online] Available at: http://idponline.org.uk/downloads/ey-slcn.pdf [Accessed 29 April 2015].
Anon., 2012. Positive Approaches to Challenging Behaviors,. [Online] Available at: http://www.cmhcm.org/provider/centrain/Training_Units/POSITIVE_APPROACHES.pdf [Accessed 29 April 2015].
McDonald, K. R. a. M., n.d. Promoting positive education and care transitions for children. [Online] Available at: https://www3.aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/promoting-positive-education-and-care-transitions-childr [Accessed 29 April 2015].
NCB, 2008. Principles of engaging with families. [Online] Available at: http://www.ncb.org.uk/media/236258/engaging_with_families.pdf [Accessed 29 April 2015].
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