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?

  1. 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.
  2. If the group don’t know each other well, start with an icebreaker
  3. Make sure you do not address them in what could be perceived as a threatening manner, be friendly and make eye contact
  4. Watch their body language, it will give you signals that they may have something to say.
  5. Limit the amount of times you specifically address them so they don’t feel over pressured
  6. Be Patient, give them time to think of the answers to the question, making sure other children don’t jump in and answer first
  7. Listen carefully to answers and give positive feedback in a non-patronising manner
  8. Tactfully correct inaccurate answers
  9. Don’t point out their quietness or shyness to the rest of the group
  10. Spend time with them on a more one-to-one basis to get to know them better
  11. If appropriate sit a leader near them, this may encourage more participation
  12. Avoid the temptation to speaker louder and more slowly, quiet doesn’t mean unintelligent.