Communicating Clearly With Children

Smiling young teenage girl

Children will need our support, as adults, to try and make sense of the Covid-19 pandemic so that they can understand and deal with the situation.

At this challenging time, it is important that parents / carers engage with children around their feelings, give them the opportunity to talk and empower them with the skills to cope.

Using active listening skills and communicating clearly can help parents and carers to understand their child’s thoughts and correct any misunderstandings or mistakes.


Active listening:

This skill is important for people of all ages. It role models positive pro-social behavior to children and teaches them to give and receive respect within the home.

Tips for practicing active listening:

  • Before you respond – Stop, Think, and then Act. Check in with your own feelings and check that you can respond and listen calmly. If you cannot, explain that you need time before you continue with the conversation. State the time needed and come back to the conversation.
  • Active listening means showing your child that you are actually hearing what is being said with open body language, nodding, asking clarifying questions and summarising at the end to ensure you heard the person correctly.
  • Listening means hearing what your child has to say without fidgeting, thinking of your own response or showing displeasure by using body language or interjecting.
  • Remember this is a two-way process, so expect the same interaction back from your child when you are talking.


Communicating clearly:

During the time of Covid-19 we’re all staying at home and living in each other’s pockets 24 hours a day.
During this time it’s important to talk with your child/ren about your expectations of them as individuals within the home. Include them in this conversation if appropriate and discuss rewards and consequences. Keep family rules few and simple.

  • At every developmental stage try to offer age-appropriate choices where possible.
  • Giving choices, even limited choices, can give your child a feeling of having some control and should lessen the potential for poor behaviour.
  • Remember – Give choices that you will agree to. This will genuinely allow the child to choose and, in so doing, develop their feeling of independence and respect for you.

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