Sunday, September 27, 2009

Adjusting to School

When children enter a new school or child care environment emotions can run high. (for everyone). It doesn’t matter whether the child is returning to a familiar school or starting someplace new. They will be meeting new people, changing their daily routine, and discovering new ideas, skills or concepts. The unknown can be a little scary, especially when you are small.

Children have a hard time controlling their response to a new situation. As adults, we have the ability to meet children where they are emotionally to ensure that the transition to a new situation is as smooth as possible. While every child is different and will exhibit their own, unique personality, understanding how children in general develop emotionally can help us make informed choices regarding how we react to a child’s behavior.

Beginning around seven months, babies become mobile and actively explore their environments. Ten-month-old Matthew, for example, quickly scoots toward a colorful ball that has rolled into a far corner. Halfway across the room, he stops and turns toward his favorite caregiver. She smiles and says, "I see you, Matthew. I see you crawling toward that ball!" Having touched base with this important person, Matthew comfortably continues his exploration.

Children this age are also developing preferences for specific people and styles of interacting. Sixteen-month-old Sally always looks for Miss Kim when she is upset. When Miss Kim is not there, it takes Sally a little longer to pull herself together, even when she is lovingly comforted by another caregiver.

The benefits of a strong bond between a toddler and her primary caregiver far outweigh the stress caused when her primary caregiver is unavailable. And if the primary caregiver is unavailable our children will be comforted by someone else. This works especially well if communication is good between caregivers and parents.

Sarah, a feisty two-year-old, protests when Aline, her teacher, tries to coax her inside for lunch, so Aline tells her that she can go back outside right after nap. Sarah takes one last run around the play yard before she slowly walks inside. She is trusting Aline to follow through on her promise, and Aline will. They are building a relationship based on respect and trust.

Toddlers are wonderful relationship builders, especially when their expanding need for autonomy is respected. Gradually, they begin to relate the positive feelings from their first relationships to other adults and children as well.

However, they are new to all of this and can become worried or overwhelmed when they are cared for by too many adults.

Positive relationships during the first two years of life have a dramatic effect on a child's ability to empathize with and care about other people. Early bonds of love can set the stage for how children feel about later relationships.

more on this later's the weekend and my family is asking me to make pancakes. Apparently I am not going to get to finish typing this post. I hope this was helpful to someone. I've gotta run....Mommy duties prevail.


Margaret said...

hi, i am an ami primary guide, have taken the infant,toddler, two's training for my own interest, and i am a faithful follower of your blog. had to sub in the toddler community friday morning. went fairly well but knowing my inexperience, i modeled you in your delightful community and just wanted to say thank you.
hope the pancakes were delicious.

robert said...

Being a father of a two year old who likes to spend time with his friends at the playground this was surely of interest to read.
He will probably enter Kindergarten next year.
What a wonderful picture - with the hand on the back !
A nice start into the new week for you.

Gypsy said...

That's so lovely - its so important for teachers to recognise and nurture these bonds. For Munchkin, who has always been a total cling-on, the bonds she has with other adults are what I rely on when I need to leave - even if its just to the toilet at playgroup. She needs to feel someone is 'assigned' to look after her, even if she never needs them!

jojoebi said...

lovely post as always :O)

I sent you a convo via Etsy, am wondering if you got it, I would love your input if you have the time, all the best, Jo

Robin Gaphni said...

Great blog! I would love to be added to your blog roll (and would love to reciprocate, of course). My blog is about children's books. It's called The Book Nosher:

Please check it out and see what you think.

Where in the World?


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