Get to the Point

When working with children and youth from hard places, caregivers can improve communication by keeping sentences short and simple and preventing long, drawn-out conversations. Try these ideas for quickly getting to the point.

When you notice they are getting triggered:

“I just want to check in” or “How can I support you?”

When you notice their energy levels rising:

“Hold up” or “What is happening?” or “I feel an energy shift”

When they are having a relationship or internal struggle:

“How can we work it out?” or “What is here in this/your space?”

When you notice they are becoming red in the face or having big emotions:

“Breathe it out” or “Take a minute”

When they are struggling for control:

“Let’s make a deal” or “What is your recommendation? Let’s negotiate”

When you want to check in on your relationship with them:

“We good?” or “I sense a new energy—do you notice it?”

When they are struggling to make a decision:

“Let’s think it through” or “What are some options?” or “If you had a magic wand, what would you do?”

When they are being unkind to themselves or others:

“Is that kind?” or “Are you asking or telling?”