10 Things a Counsellor Can Do to Assist a Child in Communicating
It is important to acknowledge to the child that they may have good reasons for keeping quiet and then to take action to answer the child’s fears to their satisfaction. For example, if the child fears punishment, speak to an adult the child trusts and is comfortable with and do this with the child to assure them that they won’t be punished. Whatever the fear of the child is, work with it and help get that fear out of their system.
These are some of the techniques that you may use:-
1. Take the time to get to know the child. Use games, activities or easy conversation to help the child relax.
2. Show an interest in the child as a person. What do they like to do? What are their favorite things to eat? etc.
3. If the child is anxious, assure the child that a support person, a trusted adult or a trained professional, whoever the child prefers, will be there to communicate with.
4. You can also create a bond of trust with the child by telling them everything that’s happening around them and explaining to them about your role.
5. Show the child that you care, that you are not just interested in getting information out of them.
6. Ensure the child does not remain hungry or thirsty.
7. Show that you respect the child and their decisions. Acceptance of the child exactly how they are, is usually a huge factor that helps them open up and trust enough to talk about their fears.
8. Your questions may evoke subjects that the child cannot easily talk about. Make sure the questions are easy to respond to. Once the rapport is established, return to the more difficult questions. (For eg:- start with basic questions about what games they like to play, who is their favorite cartoon character etc and go on from there)
9. Remove obstacles in verbal communication by being patient and providing the child with other means of expression such as writing their answers, drawing etc.
10. Many children speak and play at the same time. Recognizing the child’s tempo and their choice of expression is vital and needs patience and focused attention.