Children Speak Three Languages
When working with children, you are working with their heads, hearts & imaginations.
The child often tells their story non-verbally through their play, their behaviour, and their body language. You have to understand the child and where they are coming from to understand what they are saying.
1. The Language of the Body: The child express her/his emotional condition often when their minds are unaware of what they are truly feeling. For eg:- children complaining of headaches or stomachaches when they are tense.
2. The Language of Play: The language of play is when a child shows us rather that tells us what they are experiencing in their lives. This is a natural form of communication for children from preschool through primary school age.
Observe how the children use their toys. Become aware of which toys or materials children use to tell their story. If you can understand how playroom materials and certain activities bring up specific topics and emotions in children, then you can expand the skills you bring to counseling. In your playroom, you can use several activities – imaginative play (impersonation of favorite characters from tv), physical play and board games. Watch how children use them and the effect it has upon them emotionally.
3. Spoken Language: This is the last language that children learn. They learn that words can represent things, that words are symbolic. They learn that words have the power to express their desires. Words can make people do things.
Because this is a new language for young children, they may use words incorrectly to express their feelings, their desires, or what they have seen. For eg:- A child can say “I don’t want to eat”, but what they mean is “I don’t want to eat this now.”
Speaking the Languages of Children: It is necessary to integrate these three languages into your communication with the child. The role of the counsellor is to both communicate and listen to the child on the levels of intellect, emotions and their fantasies – the part that speaks frightening truths.
When you enter the child’s world, it is important to follow the child’s lead. This allows the child to lead you where you need to go. The child forms a bond of trust with the counselor when the counselor allows the child to lead and express what they feel in their own terms.