Childcare class question

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Why do you think it is so important to develop a relationship with every young child (especially a child with challenging behavior)? How will you work to develop this relationship? 

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I see a couple of reasons why developing a relationship with every child is important. For one thing, every child has different ways of learning. You can find out how a child learns best by developing an individual, personal relationship with that child. You also need to be able to assess a child's developmental level, and this can be best accomplished through an individual relationship. Also, if you know what each child's interests are, you can plan your lessons using their interests as a foundation, which will encourage their interest in the lesson and thus promote learning.Use puppets to act out a young child’s typical frustrations or fears, like having to share toys with a playmate, adjusting to a new baby, or separating from loved ones. Make drawings or hats for different emotions, and talk about pictures in books that communicate feelings. 

Forming positive, healthy relationships depends on the ability to show feelings appropriately and to recognize the feelings of others. Teach children acceptable ways to vent anger, like drawing an angry picture, running in the yard, or tossing a pillow on the floor. 

In the case of a child with challenging behaviors, building a personal relationship can really help you work with those behaviors. Sometimes all it takes a personal, caring relationship for the behaviors to disappear, but not often. Sometimes we need to understand where those behaviors are coming from. Is the home environment stressful? Perhaps there's been a divorce, separation, new baby born, or poor parenting skills. Is there a difficult financial situation at home? Perhaps a parent has lost a job, maybe the home is in foreclosure, maybe the family is over-extended financially and struggling to get out from under a lot of debt. How is the child's health?Is there adequate food in the home? Hunger can cause some extreme behaviors and the child may not even realize he/she is hungry. In cases where some of these problems exist, you may be able to eliminate the behaviors simply by helping the family access services that can help. If you don't build a personal relationship with the child, you may not realize that a need exists, and you may not approach the situation with the appropriate compassion. 

I would say the best way to develop that personal relationship is by initiating genuine, authentic interaction with the child.When a child feels that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say and what their problems might be, they are much more likely to trust you and respond to you in positive ways. And when that genuine relationship exists, you are much more likely to be able to figure out appropriate responses to the problem behaviors.

Enovnannm A (570)
University of Virginia

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