Respectful Practice

Respectful Practice

18 March 2020

Children need to experience gentle and respectful interactions during all care times. Care times need to be individualized to meet the needs and developmental level of each child and shouldn't be rushed through to get on to the “real learning”. All care times should be a partnership with co-operation, a two-part dance that is led by the child. Care times require joint attention – a child is focused on the activity and the adult is attentive to the activity of the child. All care times should be pleasurable activities with real interest and a desire to be involved that should consist of negotiation and compromise, two equal partners working together.

It is often during these times we forget about a children's right to be an active participant in their own care, and because our focus is on getting the job done, we miss the subtle cues children give us. So how do we ensure that our care times are respectful experiences that invite participation and empower children? See below...

Children should always come to the bathroom as willing participants. This should be a key relationship building time which is rich in responsive interactions, not hurried through as quickly as possible. Children should be actively involved in the changing process and they need to know exactly what is going on.

Children should be offered choices during dressing. There is no reason they can't be offered a choice between a blue shirt or a green shirt; making decisions is an important part of finding out who we are and what we like. Children need to move freely while getting dressed as it is a difficult task that challenges children's balance. They are to be given time to readjust their balance between movements to keep it a successful and positive experience.

If we announce to children what is going to happen before it happens, they are able to anticipate what is to come and participate. We want children to be active participants in our programme not passive recipients of it. In order for both adult and child to participate fully in a care situation requires joint attention.