by Penny Cook
All children are beautiful and in the words of developmental psychologist Urie Broffenbrenner ‘every child needs someone who is absolutely crazy about them’. Why would he say that? What does that actually mean in a child’s life?
Childhood is when children get a raw impression of who they are..based on how adults, the powerful, knowing ones respond to them. As an early childhood teacher for more years than I like to admit to, I have always believed that every child I am connected with needs to feel that I like them. It’s my first responsibility. I’m not talking about behaviour here. I’m talking about knowing the power I have and being responsible with it. As an adult (not necessarily a teacher), any interaction I have with a child has the potential to contribute to her/his internal construction of his/her worth as a human being and a member of society. And … I haven’t always done that exceptionally well.
Adults, by definition rule the world. And children are wiser than we know. They are wise to the emotional script that we run with because essentially they are emotional beings. It has been said that children learn the teacher not the content. I’m guessing as you’re reading this you’re reflecting on your own childhoods and how you’ve grown up. Who did you respond to? Who were the adults who affirmed you and which adults did not? Children respond emotionally… that’s what attachment is about … emotional connection. As very young children ‘emotion’ is their first language, before a spoken language.
And that’s where grandparents are so important. We don’t have to make the decisions about the day-to-day routines. We don’t have to get children up in the morning and make sure they get to childcare, school or wherever. We don’t have to do the homework. We don’t have to provide the 5 food groups in the right amount.
The research is in … We can play well beyond bedtime, read more stories than allocated, spend time listening and responding. We can stop and smell the roses with children.
We can be crazy about our grandchildren because they need us to be!!
Penny Cook has been an early childhood educator for over 30 years. She loves to travel – anywhere. Penny is a mother and ‘Nan Pen’, who is continuously fascinated and amazed by her two young grandchildren. She has always wanted to live in a tree house by the beach …..it’s never too late!! Other wonderfully insightful articles about young children by Penny include Call me on the Banana Phone, Grandma! and Hey Grandma, try this … build your grandchild’s imagination!
Photo source: Unknown.