Children are “feelers”. When we speak to them, they are not listening to what we say as much as the vibe behind what we’re saying. If they feel the vibe and it’s inviting, they communicate with that, not our words. If the “vide” is not inviting, they resist. Women tend to communicate the same way, subconsciously. Another way to look at it is, they’re in their body more than their head.
Because I know this, I can sit with children and in just a few minutes open them wide up and they’ll tell me anything. Parents are always amazed to see me do this. But, anyone can do this if they know how children really communicate.
If you learn how to say what you want to say embedded in a feeling, you will become a master at communicating with children.
The vibe of what you say should first create a container. In this container, the child is safe and free to express themselves. This container is where they can go to for emotional strength and safety.
Once the foundation is set, you can lead them anywhere, and they’ll happily follow. Master teachers know this to be true.
It’s not what we say that gets through to children or even adults for that matter, it’s the emotion flowing in the undercurrent that people communicate with.
If I want to communicate with a child, I first set the foundational feeling that says “I feel you, you are safe, we are connected and secure.” If things get awkward, we can always return back to our foundation.
In my “coach training” the first step when working with others is to “connect”. I picked this skill up real fast because I’ve been doing it with children for over 24 years.
Here are some tips that will “fast-track” that special place of connection with children and even adults.
– Seek to understand and see the world through their eyes
We are so quick to fix, judge, lead, etc. It’s better to ask a question or a few and really try your best to be them. Feel what they are feeling, see it the way they do, understand their logic (if anyone, lol!).
– Match their communication style
Pay close attention to the pitch, speed, and volume of their voice then use it to communicate back to them. This is called, “Mirroring and Matching”.
– Go deep with questions
When someone says they ate lunch at 2 pm, we tend to move on to an unrelated question. What I learned is that people really know you want to understand them when you go deep.
For example, you said you ate at 2 pm, was it enough food? Could you have used more time? What would have made lunch even better for you?
Do you prefer to eat alone or with a close friend?
How will you know these tips are working? The person will light up meaning more color will move to their face.
You will see them move slightly closer to you.
Their body language will be more inviting.
I’ve had small children come and hug my arm during these conversations!