This help centre article was written for childminders preparing for registration with the Koru Kids' Home Nursery service
This article is a recap of what you learn in your Safeguarding training with regard allowing children to talk and dealing with disclosure.
Helpful ideas for helping children talk
If you are concerned about a child, or if a child says something to you, it is important to listen and, as difficult as this may be, not to show shock or upset.
It’s very important to remain calm and to listen to everything that the child has to say.
Respond to the child with calmness and kindness, regardless of how you may be feeling in reality.
Accept how the child feels.
Allow the child to talk about what has happened as many times as they wish to.
Children tend to say things gradually over a period of time. An initial disclosure to you is often a child’s way of testing your response and whether it is safe to tell.
Accept what the child says.
Thank your child for telling you. Remind them that you will help keep them safe.
Reassure your child that what happened was not okay, that you believe them and that they are not in trouble.
Try to get the message across that talking is okay. If the child does not mention what has happened again, you can make a general reference to what they have said and use this opportunity to reassure him or her that it is okay to talk about it.
What to avoid
Don’t put words into the child’s mouth. Ask general questions only (e.g. tell me about that?)
Don’t pressure the child to continue or ask them for more details than they are ready to give.
Don’t question the child in a way that will introduce new words, phrases, or concepts into their minds.
Don’t “correct” or influence the child’s information (i.e. “why didn’t you tell me sooner”; “ why did you let them do it?”)
Don’t challenge, confront, or criticise the child’s information even if the information seems unlikely or there are obvious errors. Remember children are sometimes unable to give accurate timescales or dates.
Do not look shocked or distasteful.
Do not pass an opinion about the alleged perpetrator.
Do not promise to keep a secret.
Never delay getting help.
The procedure to follow if you have a concern about a child
If you have any concern about a child in their care, you must contact your Local Authority Safeguarding Hub as soon as possible. You can find information on contact details here.
You must log factual information; the date, time, marks or comments, disclosures (word for word ideally) that you are concerned about on a Record of Concern form.
This will be filed in the child’s personal file. The parent/carer will be asked about the bruising/marks and their response will be added and both the parent and you must sign the form.
You must ensure that accurate written records about a child are kept even if there is no need to make an immediate referral and that all such records are kept confidentially and securely.
Where an immediate referral is not required, you must continue to monitor the child and situation.