Effective communication is extremely important in developing positive relationships. If we communicate effectively this will allow children and young people to learn boundaries and expectations. As childcare providers it is important that we model effective communication with other people. For example in a stressful or excitable situation we need to think about our own communication verbally and non-verbally so as to encourage others to do the same. If we practice this, we will form positive relationships with children, young people and adults as they will feel that can communicate back to ourselves and others. If we do not communicate effectively other people will not trust us and will not be taught effective communication themselves.
The principles of relationship building are that if children, young people and adults are comfortable around us and trust us then they will be more likely to communicate with us and others. Below are some principles required for effective communication.
• Show respect to gain it back – In order for us to build positive relationships it is important that we show the other person respect. This can be by showing them you are listening and taking an interest, as well as remembering names of people. This will encourage the other person to do the same.
• Sense of humour – It can be important dependant on the situation to have a sense of humour. Laughing with someone can make them feel more at ease and in turn they may learn to trust you more.
• Allow personal space – Allowing a child or adult their personal space will allow them to feel less threatened and patronised. You do not need to get into someone’s personal space to get a point across. Giving them their space will allow them to have more trust in you and have a greater respect.
• Making time to listen – It is essential that we take time to listen to others especially if they are confiding in us or asking us for advice or help. We should also make them see that we are listening and taking an interest by positive body language, eye contact and response when necessary. If we practice this they will be more likely to want to speak to us again and in turn this will promote positive relationships.
• Being considerate – Before we respond to a certain type of behaviour or situation, we should consider that persons personal situation as there may be a reason for them reactive or behaving in a certain way. Knowing this could change the way we deal with certain things and make a difference to the way we communicate with that person.
• Remembering issues/interests which are personal to them – It will be a big help in building positive relationships if we learn and remember things that are personal. For example remembering a child’s birthday or they favourite toy. With adults it could also be if they are having personal issues such as at home. E.g. a marriage breakdown them it would be important for us to approach the subject with care but offer support.
Different social, professional and cultural contexts can affect relationships and the way people communicate. Usually we do this subconsciously. For example when in a meeting we will use more formal language and body language. As well as format meetings we will also have more informal communication at different times, such as having a private word with someone or passing on a message. Verbal communication is not the only way we communicate with others. Communication can be written, through body language, and eye contact. Effective non verbal communication could be how quickly we respond to an email, letter or phone message. It could also be how interested and attentive we seem and how appropriately we are dressed for the situation. It is very important that we recognise different communication techniques within cultures. Different cultures may have different ways of communicating and behaviours. For example some cultures may us a great deal of body contact whereas others may deem it disrespectful to make eye contact during conversation.