Letting the child lead begins with:
Paying close attention to the child so that you can see what they’re interested in or what they’re trying to tell you
- As adults we are tuned in to sound – children who make enough noise will get our attention
- But some children (especially children with reluctant or passive conversation styles) might not have figured out that they need to use their voices to get attention
- They may also not have the confidence to use their voices yet
- Their communication style may be very subtle, but if you take the time to observe, you will understand what they are trying to say
- Simple gestures such as a child making eye-contact to see your response or reaction is communication!!
- Waiting is a powerful tool because it gives the child an opportunity to initiate.
- When you wait, you give the child time to initiate or to get involved in an activity. You are, in effect, giving her this message: “ You’re in control – I know you can communicate, so you decide what you want to do or say. I’ll give you all the time you need.”
- Waiting not only encourages children to initiate; it also gives them the time to respond to questions and requests.
- Children who are reflective and think before responding have been shown to do better in school than those who respond quickly and impulsively. So we should be encouraging children to take their time and to think before responding.
- It means to pay close attention to what the child is saying to give an appropriate response.
- Active listening involves not interrupting the child or assuming that you understand what she is trying to say before she has finished speaking.
- It’s hard to listen when the “listener” isn’t really listening.
- Respond more appropriately to what he/she told you.
– By Nolene Oosthuizen