Some of the children we look after are with us for a large amount of time which means we should create an environment that makes them feel welcome comfortable and valued.
Here are some things to think about that will help you to create this kind of environment.
Greetings are socially important. Always acknowledge a child’s arrival to welcome them in. This will help a child to feel more comfortable about coming in and leaving their parents/carer.
Helping Children to have their own spaces
Children feel most comfortable in certain areas. Let children find their own space and choose where they want to play. Children like to have special things that belong to just them. At junglers children have their own coat peg and draw for their belongings.
Encourage children to make choices
It is important that children are given some opportunities to make their own choices. This gives them a sense of control. Let children decide what they want to play with, let them decide what chair they want to sit on at meal times etc.
Involve children in decision making
Helping children to make their own decisions helps to build their self esteem and contributes to their emotional well being. It also helps to build stronger relationships. Encouraging children to make decisions is not about giving them control its about involving them.
Negotiate with Children
Negotiation is a life skill. Children learn it by being given the opportunity to practise it. This is not about giving children their own way but about showing them that you are listening to their view points and finding solutions to problems together. It also prevents children feeling excluded and powerless. It is important however for children to know what their boundaries or constraints are.
Respect children as individuals
Recognise children as individuals. Children have different strengths talents and interests. They also respond in different ways. You can help build on a child’s individuality by recognising their interests and encouraging them to build upon them. Talking is an invaluable tool. Let children talk to you about everything and anything and show them that you are interested in what they are saying. This will help you find out what makes that child special.
Communicating with children
Communication comes in many forms, talking listening, body language and facial expressions are just a few. Be clear with children so they know what is expected of them. Think about children’s language levels and needs. Communicate with them in a way that is appropriate and a way they will understand. Don’t be sarcastic and keep sentences to the point. Avoid confusion by meaning exactly what you say and make sure you have a child’s attention before you start to tell them something.