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
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.
Today is the first day of term here in South Australia and there will be many little ones starting out on their journey of education. For some it will be exciting and full of joy, for others there will be lots of anxiety and stress.
Don’t be surprised if your child has a major meltdown when they get home from school and is transformed into some kind of a monster. Some children may behave in a way that you have not experienced before. This is their pressure valve exploding.
Some children manage to hold it together just long enough to get home to a safe space where they know that they are loved and where they can safely let it all out. They may be hungry, tired, they may have been holding in their toilet business all afternoon. They have probably been trying to manage their emotions all day long.
If at all possible go straight home after school, or allow some time to run it off in a park after school. They need to breathe deeply and relax in a place where they can unwind and let it all out.
Avoid asking lots of questions, even though you are probably bursting to know what it was all like, who they played with and did they have a good time? The chances are that they had a great day, but they will be exhausted and may not want to talk about it.
There is only so much that a 5 year old can take and you may just be on the receiving end of their pressure valve release.
Please be patient and calm with them. There is only so much that a 5 year old can take and you may just be on the receiving end of their pressure valve release. This is not a time for punishment or yelling, give them what they need from you, validation of their emotions, lots of love and reassurance. It will get better as they adapt to their new school life.
You can take some comfort from this and know that your child feels safe with you and loved enough to finally let it all go. And that is a wonderful gift that you have given your child.