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To establish a respectful, professional relationship, I would be friendly and approachable along with aiming to build trust with the child in the long term. It’s vital to be positive and give lots of praise and encouragement in order to help increase the child’s self confidence yet still maintain consistent, clear boundaries together with appropriate sanctions as required. In order to promote effective interactions with other children, it is important to be a positive role model.

This would help to encourage positive behaviour and promote effective social skills. Some children may not have a positive role model at home, which makes it even more important to set a good example for them to follow. Treat everyone fairly and be aware of your own approach – a negative attitude can have a negative impact on the children. In the case of adults, then mutual respect is key – be polite, friendly and speak as you would wish to be spoken to. Being a team player and offering to help others is beneficial in building effective relationships.

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Likewise, sharing information or giving feedback is essential, ensuring it is given at an appropriate time and place. It is essential to bear in mind the child’s age and previous experience throughout any interaction with the child. Patience would be needed to help the child build relationships with peers and adults alongside close liaison with the child’s parents. Try to see things from their perspective, speak using age appropriate language and use paraphrasing to aid understanding. Use positive body language, eye contact and listen to what they are saying.

Ask open ended questions to learn what the child is interested in and use that information to help involve them in class activities to help them to integrate with the other children. It may be useful to appoint a suitable classmate to be a “buddy” for the new child to make it easier for them to mix with other children and form friendships. Ensure that positive behaviour is praised and rewarded but also that the child is aware of what is unacceptable behaviour and of the sanctions that may be implemented.

If disagreements arise with the child, it is vital to be impartial and not take sides. Separate and calm the children and try to find out what the problem is. Appreciate that the situation can be upsetting so allow them to convey their feelings; time out may be needed to permit them to vent their frustration. Strive to get them both to agree to a fair solution and encourage them to take part in a team activity to help repair their relationship. Any information relevant to the child’s behaviour should be shared with the class teacher in the first instance.

Ensure that a dated and written record is made. All staff working with the child will need to be aware of the child’s situation to enable everyone to be supportive and monitor any changes in behaviour. Although it’s important to build effective relationships with children and gain their trust, allowing children to talk openly to you, they may divulge information of a sensitive nature. In that situation, speak to the child away from the class. It is vital that the child understands that sensitive information regarding their welfare or protection cannot be kept confidential.

It may be that knowing that the information cannot be kept confidential, the child decides not to disclose any information, and that decision needs to be respected. On the other hand, if the child does decide to share the information, allow the child to tell you in their own time, don’t prompt the child for information. Circumstances affecting the child with regard to neglect or physical, emotional & sexual abuse need to be shared with the class teacher who will be responsible for referral to the Child Protection Officer who may need to share the information with the relevant agencies.

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