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PLAN For Peace/Promote Empathy/Reduce Bullying

Updated: Jul 2, 2023

Hello My Favorite People,

If you care for the very young as I do, you know that prevention is our goal. Preventing illness, accidents, crying, fighting, biting, chaos, and unsafe situations of any kind. That's our job.

It's also our job to care for ourselves.

Caring for ourselves allows us to continue caring for others without burning out. Since I've studied early childhood and been a caregiver for over 40 years, I've experienced my share of burnout.

For me, because I really do love my job for all of the right reasons, those feelings go away whenever I get excited about learning and applying something new. I just have to be sure to keep searching and growing.

My growth mindset is one thing that makes me a really good early childhood educator. I've learned how to pass that on to the youngest of learners intentionally.

When I'm not working with children, I reach out to caregivers. And I observe. I see that when early childhood teachers or parents love their job, they shine from the inside out. The children with them pick up on that and tend to do so themselves.

But I also notice that in order to shine properly, caregivers need to know how to set boundaries with the children and other people around them.

One of my favorite ways to do so is to use "I" messages such as:

  • I won't let you hit Emily because it hurts her.

  • I need to think about that for a while.

  • I'm coming over to talk with you about that problem.

  • I'm going to hold this but only until we can work out what to do with it using words.

  • I'm worried about that

If you haven't yet seen Becky Bailey's books on conscious discipline, I'd highly recommend them to anyone who wants behavior support for young children. The Shubert and Sophie series have a non-judgemental way of telling parents, teachers, and children the right way to behave respectfully and still communicate effectively.

According to Robin Karr-Morse et. al. in Ghosts from the Nursery: Tracing the Roots of Violence, the best time to teach non-violent communication skills is between 10-18 months because that's when we begin to develop connections from the amygdala to the frontal cortex. That's when self-regulation is forming.

Over the years, I've developed a PLAN for peace. As a caregiver for our youngest children, I know how important it is to start early.

In the first few years of life, more than 1 million new neural connections form every second. After this period of rapid proliferation, connections are reduced through a process called pruning, which allows brain circuits to become more efficient. In light of these findings, focusing on early childhood only makes sense. -Center for the Developing Child, Harvard University-

Here's my PLAN in a nutshell. Stay tuned and join our community because each week, I'll be going into each concept in more detail. Here's the PLAN:

With me? Good, now, here's what I want you to do.

  • Join us now so you can stay in the loop of caregivers who really care. You'll get one new idea to use in your practice each week plus you'll immediately get a copy of the slideshow I developed that tells you exactly what to say in a developmentally appropriate way when children misbehave.

  • Share this with other caregivers and parents who really care

  • Keep shining!

Get the exact words to use when dealing with common childhood issues like cleaning up, tattling, or positive communication in this slideshow I designed for early childhood educators and parents.

Early Childhood Rocks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the world through early childhood education

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! (click on the word) 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.


“Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.” Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, 4 Dec. 2017,

Karr-Morse, Robin, et al. Ghosts from the Nursery: Tracing the Roots of Violence. The Atlantic Monthly Press, 2013.

Rosenberg, Marshall B. Non-Violent Communication: A Language of Life: Create Your Life, Your Relationships & Your World in Harmony with Your Values. Puddle Dancer, 2003.

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