Tuesday, 30 April 2013

V is for Voice


            Giving your child a voice is a really important part of parenting and childcare

We all have the right to be heard. We all have opinions that we often feel we want to share. Children have that right too, and we should be giving them the opportunity to have their say and to be heard.

My daughter is extremely vocal about a lot of things. Often when I am talking to someone else, she wants to be part of the conversation and tell me something! I try not to shoot her down by telling her to be quiet, but I try and let her know I will listen to what she has to say when I have finished what I have been saying.

According to Richard Grossman, PHD, there are 3 rules to giving your child a voice:

1. Assume that what your child has to say about the world is as important as what you have to say.

2. Assume that you can learn as much from them as they can from you

3. Enter their world through their play, rather than expecting them to enter yours.


Children need to feel valued and that their opinions matter. Many  older children in society today feel miserable with their lives because they feel they are not wanted or valued (BBC, 2007) This is a really sad thing to have said about our future generation. They have as much right to say what happens in their society as we adults do, and in some cases more as future plans are effecting the way they will live their lives as they grow older.

This is why schemes in schools which encourage children to become part of councils, discussion groups and school newspapers allowing them to have a chance to speak their minds and have their say.

We often give children mixed messages when it comes to allowing them to have their say. We tell them not to interrupt or not to talk when someone else is talking, but in many ways making them understand that they will get a chance to have their say is really important. They have to learn the skills to communicate, and begin to understand when it is or isn't appropriate to have their say. This is all part of learning social and communication skills, most of which they will pick up from watching adults conversing.

A great example of when children should speak up is found here  http://www.uncommon-parenting.com/advice-articles/affirming-your-childs-voice-how-and-when-to-encourage-your-child-to-speak-up/ a great list and worth a read!!

So, have a think about whether or not you have allowed your child or one in your care to have a voice today? Have you asked them questions about their day or their opinion on something? Have you listened when they wanted to share something with you??

I am off to give my daughter a chance to share.......she hasn't told me much about her time at Preschool yet today!!

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