Sunday, August 11, 2013

Giving or Showing?

When being with children it can be so easy to be in the moment, yet not be seeing from the perspective of the child.  Being open to that availability shows us a whole new world.  

So, What do you do when a child holds out a toy to you?
Do you smile?
Do you say, "Oh Thank you!" and take it?
Do you offer out your hand?
Do you look confused as they jerk it back away?
Aren't you going to give it to me?

You might try saying:

"I thought you were giving it to me."  or "You were showing me?"  
Being honest and clear about your side helps the child know you saw his moves and are available to listen to what they want to tell you about their needs, even if they are preverbal

"Look at that jar!  It's clear and smooth."  "Your face looks happy and proud."  
Say what is true, accurate and what is happening.  This helps the child slow down and engage in the moment. 

"Look how that fits! Now you're holding it in your mouth.  I wonder how it feels."
Asking wondering questions encourage the process of inquiry.
"You put it in my hand.  Thank you"
Adding manner words gives the child a real world model for when these words are appropriate and when they feel good to say and share.  It feels good to be together, to share toys and to be available to hear each other.  

"You want it back?  I'm using it.  Yes you can have it.  I'm finished." 
This is practice for interactions you hope to see between children.  Asking for what you want, being clear about limits and setting up for success creates a standard of behavior which is self-sustaining.  

 Narration gives the child who engages with you an opportunity to bring his awareness to his interactions with another.  I have many seemingly one sided conversations with the children in cohort 6.  While they are just beginning to say words, their body language, eye contact and movements talk to me as loudly as the words of an older child.  When respond to this communication with the same understanding, responsiveness, and care that we would with words we are teaching these children what true communication needs: time, listening,

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