We’re building a new UNICEF.org.
As we swap out old for new, pages will be in transition. Thanks for your patience – please keep coming back to see the improvements.

Communicating with children

Guideline 1B

Encourage and model interaction


Interactive communication is when children are inspired to be more attentive and to participate in the story or other medium. Participatory communication, like participatory education, is more child-friendly, providing children and adolescents the opportunity to be engaged cognitively, physically and emotionally, especially compared to didactic forms of communication.

Although technologically based communication such as Internet blogging or text messaging is specifically designed to be interactive, interaction can also be added with traditional media such as books, plays, puppetry, song, radio and television. The more we invite our audiences to express themselves, use body movement, think critically and provide feedback, the closer we come to true participatory communication.

© Child Honouring - 2010

Positive Example:  Encourage and model interaction

Raffi. Raffi Cavoukian is known to millions simply as Raffi, a participatory children’s singer, composer and performer from Canada. Raffi was a pioneer in music for children and families, bringing quality music to children based on respect for them as whole people.

His work builds self-confidence through verbal or physical audience participation, encouraging children to sing well-known popular “action songs” to learn about healthy habits, learn specific cognitive skills, learn to appreciate diversity and learn to cope with difficult emotions. Raffi’s years of working with children and educators has evolved into a philosophy - Child Honouring - that everyone can apply to help create a restorative, child-friendly world.

 Turning Theory into Practice

This guideline can be translated into communication in many ways, including the following:

  • Having the host or a character discuss things directly with viewers/listeners, asking children questions, and giving them sufficient time to answer
  • Inviting singing, exercise, movement, dancing and other mimicking behaviours
  • Building questions into text and including interactive activities (write, draw, post a photo, etc.) at the end of communication for children
  • Including invited spontaneous comments from the audience that encourage many answers, not just one
  • Practicing the principle of “each one teach one” where children are encouraged to “go and teach someone else what you have learned so well”



 Guideline 1A  Guideline 1B  Guideline 1C



New enhanced search