Updated: Nov 11
Do you provide care for very young children? If so, you're in the right place. You're the most important group of people in the world right now.
I'm going to focus today on creating hope and try to give you some concrete ideas about how to nurture a hopeful attitude in the young children that you care for.
Since we're talking about infants and toddlers here, we're going to talk about 3 little words that you can use with them that help them to feel mastery of their world and create hope in their hearts.
The truth is that after over 43 years of studying human development and working as a child and parent educator, I know that if I want kids to learn anything at all, I need to reach them through their emotions and tie those emotions in. Emotions spark learning.
So the 3 little words that you will want to repeat over and over again to your child with a smile and excitement are .....
You Did It!!!
Notice the little things they do like grab a dangling toy, notice a sound, smile at you, or anything else you can see they're striving for.
This is how you get to be an elite caregiver. Positive words, short sentences, paying attention to their learning process, providing the right environment, and sharing in the joy.
Children learn through emotional experiences, modeling, and repetition.
It may sound easy, but I know that it's not. There are so many things that get in the way of these experiences actually happening but when they do, give yourself credit for providing the tools and emotions that young children need to learn. After all,
You did it, you smiled!
You did it, you got my finger!
You did it! You climbed into the chair or just,
You did it!
No need to tell them they're smart, clever, or good. They feel good about accomplishing and learning what they set out to do. From this, they can develop grit, focus, resilience to depression, and the ability to work through frustration.
Here's a bonus!
There's one more 3 word sentence that creates empathy and confidence as well as a sense of belonging. I heard it at the end of a national NAEYC conference. The speaker was Dr. Becky Bailey and she said this, " if you only remember one thing to say to young children after hearing my talk, let it be this:"
That was helpful!
Thanks so much for reading. You really are an elite caregiver and we need more of you in the world. Join us and connect here. When you do you'll get my 22-page slideshow, How To Get Kids To Listen Without Yelling or Time-Outs, free.
Nanci J Bradley is an early childhood and family educator, author, teacher, family aerobics instructor, and an all-around fun-loving person. She believes in the power of sleep, healthy eating, lifelong learning, and most of all, PLAY! She studied early childhood ed at Triton College and received her BS in education in 1986 from NIU. She received her MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College in 2011. She lives and teaches in Madison WI.