WHAT MAKES A CHILD FEEL UNDERSTOOD?
Diversity and its role in the settling in process
When children feel understood, it helps to support their independence and empowers them to explore and investigate their environments (Pollak et. al., 2001). Children are in the process of trying to make sense of the world surrounding them. They have to deal with many new and unknown stimuli. Ensuring that they feel understood provides them with a tool to make sense of the world.
Not feeling understood is a discouraging feeling. It can make a child feel left out or abandoned and in turn, doubt their own opinions and affect their self-esteem. Not feeling understood can lead to frustration in children and this frustration may cause them anxiety, nervousness, or aggression.
Feeling understood means feeling accepted and is the best way for a child to ultimately become an important part of a group. Interaction with other people is a basic need for human beings. Feeling understood opens communication and allows for the child to start exploring rather than worrying about whether someone will understand them.
Feeling understood is not simply to do with understanding spoken language. There are various individual signs that children give that help adults understand them: tiredness, frustration, hunger, and so on. A carer observes and learns to read these signals and how to satisfy individual needs with time. For example, signs that a child is hungry or needs to use the bathroom can be observed by carers who have a close bond with their child. Do not fear that simply because your child does not understand the language of the kindergarten they will struggle with feeling understood. Children who are shown unconditional care and respect will find the understanding they require to function until they are better able to process the verbal information given to them.