How to … deal with the quiet child
Tirzah L Jones
There are so many different personalities within our children’s and youth clubs and the ones that often go missed are the silent types, I recently had one young person describe themselves as a ‘chameleon’ the question is how do we get those young people integrated?
- Firstly it is important to understand the reason behind the quietness, are they just shy or is there a deeper reason which you may need to deal with.
- If the group don’t know each other well, start with an icebreaker
- Make sure you do not address them in what could be perceived as a threatening manner, be friendly and make eye contact
- Watch their body language, it will give you signals that they may have something to say.
- Limit the amount of times you specifically address them so they don’t feel over pressured
- Be Patient, give them time to think of the answers to the question, making sure other children don’t jump in and answer first
- Listen carefully to answers and give positive feedback in a non-patronising manner
- Tactfully correct inaccurate answers
- Don’t point out their quietness or shyness to the rest of the group
- Spend time with them on a more one-to-one basis to get to know them better
- If appropriate sit a leader near them, this may encourage more participation
- Avoid the temptation to speaker louder and more slowly, quiet doesn’t mean unintelligent.