In an earlier post I introduced the AAA approach to caregiving that I recommend to educators and which I consider to be vital to promoting academic and interpersonal success in the education environment; particularly for children who have a history of developmental trauma and those whose capacity to cope with adversity (aka resilience) is low. While I was sorting out some old documents today I came across a handout I distributed at a workshop I offered to education staff here in Adelaide, and I thought I would share it with you. The handout presents practical caregiving behaviours that educators can incorporate into their daily routine when interacting with children in their classroom.
1. To facilitate regular experiences for children of being understood, valued and validated, thereby promoting a positive sense of self and other, verbalise out loud what you think the child is thinking, feeling, wanting, wishing for, or why they did what they did.
Instead of: How are you going?
Why did you do that?
What do you want?
Say (e.g.): I can see you are happy. You must enjoy doing that . . .
I am doing something you don’t like (when the child is cross or
disengages) . . . .
You just wish there were no rules and you could do anything you want . . .
I can tell you want to be left alone right now . . .
2. To reassure the child that adults are aware of them, thinking of them and prepared to respond to them and their needs without them having to control and influence adults all the time, check in with them when they are independently occupied at-least once per day.
Say: “Hey there. Would you like some help with that?”
“You’re doing a good job!”
Also, whenever possible, respond to a need/reasonable wish the child would normally ask for before they call attention to the need/reasonable wish.
3. To lower the child’s arousal levels, thereby reducing problematic behaviour and increasing their positive engagement in their learning, do the above and maintain routines and consistent boundaries and consequences for misdemeanours.
I appreciate that the handout is very brief – it was meant to represent a minimum standard and be a quick reference guide and was offered in the context of a 1.5 day workshop incorporating information that is accessible in the following books: