Nobody understands a child care provider like a child care provider. That's why I want to make your life easier, not more complicated.
But first I have a question for you.
Why are you a childcare provider? Is it because you enjoy being with young children and love to see them learn and grow? Is it because you believe in brain science that points to the fact that their brains will never again make as many new neural connections as they do now?
Check this research out, it's actually from Harvard!
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-
I've been a child care provider myself for over 40 years. I've also studied, earned degrees, and read over 150 books on education, psychology, and the very young. It's the most fascinating realm of study I've encountered.
But really it's the years of actual experience as a teacher in the field that have taught me the most. Imagine that! One thing I know for sure is this:
Child care providers need a break, not more work and worries especially on the weekend. But I also know that we get frustrated with the world and with the children that we care for. Maybe even with their families. Maybe even our coworkers.
I know because I've been there, too. And in the past, I knew so little compared to what I know now. So no matter where you are in your career, I may be able to give you a nudge or an idea that may help. Or maybe not. But I plan to offer them to you, one simple, useable idea at a time.
One free technique each week that you can try for yourself and see if it helps. Are you with me?
I hope so because I know that you need more help than you're getting. I get it.
and I hope that you don't give up. High-quality child care is so necessary and much, much rarer than it should be.
Research suggests that children who attend high-quality childcare centers are happier than other kids, perform better on language and other academic tests, and have better social skills. (Vandell, 2004)
So enjoy my latest article called, Say My Name! And be the quality you want to see!
Say My Name
Many years ago as a new head start teacher, I learned something I never want to forget. But I'm afraid I do forget sometimes. Everyone does. We're all human.
So I resist the urge to think, "I already know that".
Even the best, or especially the best teachers realize that knowing and doing might be 2 different things. Especially when we're stressed and overworked.
When you hear about my technique, I'm afraid you might think the exact same thing as I did.
"I already know that."
Well, I said it to myself because my supervisor had just spent the last hour count
ing how many times I said each of the 19 children's names and keeping score.
"You said Stewart's name 14 times in the last hour. The other children maybe once or twice.
You're giving him too much attention for his poor behavior. Think about it."
I was fuming inside but I kept my cool. I couldn't help but say his name so often. Or could I?
I may have been taken off guard by this observation but to this day I don't think I ever got better advice. But still, I was left to figure out for myself how to get around it.
I knew I had to turn the tables around so that Stewart and everyone else got a lot more attention for behaving well. It was a really hard task.
There was so much misbehavior happening, I felt like I was putting out fires. Where was the time for positive talk? We had 19 kids to care for with 2 teachers and some of them were needy.
So this is what I did. It actually worked and that's why I'm bothering to tell you about it. And every time since then when I think my class might be a little bit out of control, I revisit it and it works again.
Sticking with my philosophy of not assigning blame of any kind, I make it my business to notice right away when there is a problem. But instead of saying the offending child's name to get their attention, I begin to move toward the problem and say something like this:
Excuse me, is there a problem?
Can I help you?
Tell me what's happening between you.
I'm going to hold this object while we talk about what to do next.
Clearing my throat while moving in to help.
Stop. I'm coming over to talk about it.
This way I feel like I'm dealing with the problem but I'm also careful to save the use of their beautiful names for the positives I share with them later. If you think that we need to call the offending child out and identify them so we know that they know we're talking to them, forget it. They know.
Here are some examples from the other side of the coin. Use phrases like these to enhance their language and at the same time give positive attention for learning.
Sheldon, I see you cooking in the kitchen!
Amy's climbing up again.
Emily's jumping into the sand.
Rajesh's running with Howie. They're running to the swings!
Penny's jumping and dancing with a tambourine. What fun!
Leonard chose the purple crayon.
If you're having a hard time with one particular child, you might want to read one of my favorite old articles about How To Have a Good Day With Your Challenging Child(ren). this one really helps me when I'm stuck on a child's behavior issues.
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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.