There are so many ways to connect with each child in your program, yet most of us skim over this important detail and try go straight to teaching and influencing.
I promise you will have greater reach and will make a greater impact if you invest in connecting with kids first before you do anything else.
PLAY DOESN’T COME NATURALLY TO MOST ADULTS
A child could make a list a mile long if you asked them what they wanted to play.
But you see…
Adults can be lame.
Myself included at times.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”George Bernard Shaw
I think that’s pretty darn accurate, George.
I have heard several times in my life, “You’re so good with kids.”
While it’s a compliment indeed… playing with kids isn’t something that comes naturally to me.
I’m an adult, remember?
Here are some things that come natural to me:
- Drinking coffee
- Watching The Food Network
- Taking a hot bath
- Reading a good book
- Strolling along the beach
- Polishing off a few servings of chips and guac
- Going to bed by 9pm on a Saturday night.
Remind Yourself to Play With The Kids
Confession: I wasn’t always good at remembering to play.
I’m here to tell you from experience.
Put just a drop of energy into play each day and you will see some major return on how the kids see you and respond to you.
Providers can get so busy during the day, we start to mimic a top, spinning throughout the play space, taking care of everyone’s immediate needs.
It’s time to see “PLAY” AND “CONNECTION” as an immediate need.
I was so forgetful, I would stick this a note on a cabinet where I would see it often:
Does a Child Care Provider Have Time to Play?
Child care providers have so much to accomplish during the day that often times we feel like there is no time or energy left for playing with the kids.
Often times, as a family child care provider, your energy bank is running on fumes after taking care of the “must do list”:
- Change diapers for 4 kids
- Clean up corn off the floor (so. much. corn)
- Make a homemade batch of play dough
- Clean up pee in bathroom
- Serve lunch
- Rub backs at nap time
- Coach two kids through a good old Thomas the Train argument
- Hold sweet baby and feed him a bottle
- Make sure lil Petunia doesn’t bite her friends
I believe creating a meaningful relationship with each child in your program is the NUMBER ONE thing you can do to ensure them success as a human.
To do this, we must meet the child on their turf, follow their lead and show interest in their favorite things.
Spending time each day, on the floor, in order to connect with each child. You will be amazed at how it…
- changes how the kids interact with you
- changes how the kids think of you
- decreases behavioral issues
- leaves you with more joy
- changes the overall vibe of the crew
- tells the kids, “You are important. I have time for you.”
Do what you have to do to find margin in your day for down-on-the-floor play with kids. It matters so much.