So often I am asked what do I do with CHILD SA?

I’m a child and family health nurse working in the early learning sector. It doesn’t make sense to some people. Some of my family don’t really understand what I do.

So here is my what and my why in a nutshell………

When young children don’t get the connection they need from family, day-care, early learning, kindy, or school, they may not learn, grow, and develop to their full potential. At the most severe end, disconnection can create long term behavioural, relationship, social and emotional, mental health, and physiological health issues. That’s where the nursing interest comes in.

“All behaviour is communication and the answer is connection.”

Children’s behaviour tells us that they have unmet needs, so often we get it wrong, labelling the child as naughty or punishing the child in some way, sometimes even our body language or our tone of voice can drive disconnection. How often have you heard the advice to ignore negative behaviour? Or heard children called attention seekers? All behaviour is communication and the answer is connection.

Let’s reframe attention seeking as connection seeking. Ignoring a child that is trying to seek a connection with you, or punishing a child that is trying to reach out to you through their behaviour doesn’t make sense when you look at it through this lens.

“Let’s reframe attention seeking as connection seeking”.

Reacting to behaviour doesn’t work, reminding children of the rules, or saying things like “we don’t hit our friends” when children have heightened emotions doesn’t work either. What children need is to feel safe, and have a calm, predictable and regulated adult to respond with empathy and genuine connection. Only then can children learn from the experience and develop the skills for managing their emotions and behaviour.

So this is what I do …….I use my knowledge of child health, early childhood development, with my teaching, coaching and mentoring skills to help families, educators, teachers reflect on their knowledge, skills, attitudes, and awareness of how they are connecting with children, how they are taking care of themselves so that they are emotionally available for connection.

When we get this right, we will significantly improve relationships, behaviour, educational and long-term health outcomes for children.

I can’t think of a better or more important way to use my skills. If you would like more information about CHILD SA and what we offer please check out our website, email me, or drop me a message.


Sonia is the founder and director of CHILD SA. CHILD SA aims to provide education and support for families, educators and organisations in order to foster a deep understanding of the social and emotional development and wellbeing of babies and children in the early years. Sonia holds a Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Health Nursing from Flinders University and has worked with children and families in the community for over 16 years.

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