It is essential when caring for babies that they need to have a special bond / relationship with a key person. Babies need time to make a special relationship and build up trust, just like adults. These special relationships make vital foundations in the baby??™s overall development. The key person approach means that the baby will feel secure and happy away from their main carers/parents and home. It is essential within this role that you have one to one time giving the baby physical contact and use everyday routines. Babies are very adapted at tuning in on our emotions, so it is vital that we give them plenty of eye contact and respond positively to their different emotions.
1 to 3 Year olds:-
Again, as with babies it is vital for this age group to have a special relationship with an adult. Having a key person who knows them very well will ensure that they feel safe and secure away from their main carers. They still enjoy lots of physical contact and security of everyday routines. The children need plenty of eye contact and it is important that you are responsive to them. They also need adults who can support play alongside them rather than imposing on them. Playing and talking with this age group is vital in building good relationships and getting to know what the children like and dislike. This age group enjoy repetition of play, rhymes, stories and following simple instructions.
It is vital that you have positive body language and good facial expressions so that the children pick up on visual clues especially those with special needs or disabilities and or English as an additional language. When communicating it is essential that you are at the same level as the children and give simple instructions broken down into manageable stages. With some children it may mean that you need to use alternative and augmentative communication to enhance your communication with them such as using gestures, eye pointing or pointing to symbols/pictures.
3 to 6 Years old:-
From around three years onwards, most children become more confident being around different adults, other children and environments, although this can vary due to the children??™s different backgrounds and experiences. Again having a special bond with a key person can help support them to follow daily routines and boundaries. Playing and talking with this age group is vital in building good relationships and supporting their learning and development. You also need to start encouraging the children to become independent by providing lots of different opportunities and at this age they still need to learn how to play together. They also need opportunities to talk, discuss and listen to others views and opinions and to be able to express their thoughts and feelings. Being a good role model for the children by using positive body language, facial expression and good listening skills will help support and develop the children??™s communication and language.
This age group needs less physical contact but lots of encouragement, reassurance and approval. When communicating it is essential that you are at the same level as the children and give simple instructions broken down into manageable stages. With some children it may mean that you need to use alternative and augmentative communication to enhance your communication with them such as using gestures, eye pointing or pointing to symbols/pictures. Boys at this age need more time to digest information and to follow simple manageable instructions, where as girls start to be able to comprehend more complex information. Children within this age group very much enjoy helping an adult with daily routines. They also need lots of encouragement and praise to follow clear boundaries and rules that they can understand.
7 to 11 Years old:-
With this age group they still require lots of encouragement, praise and approval. You need to give older children time to talk and express their views and opinions. It is vital that they feel that you are interested in what they have to say. They still need to understand boundaries and expected behaviour and to take on increased responsibilities. They should also be encouraged to try new activities, experiences and challenges to help them develop new ideas and understanding. Children within this age group need opportunities to play with others and time to enjoy their own creative games. At this stage some children with special needs or disabilities may still need alternative or augmentative communication.
11 Years and over:-
It is still essential with this age group of children and young people to build on good relationships; they will be experiencing many physical changes and may feel anxious about puberty. Adults need to able to listen and be sensitive to the changes they are going through. It is vital that they have positive adult relationships, with an adult who can listen carefully, are sensitive, non-judgemental and have empathy to their individual needs. Within this age group they face far more peer pressure, wanting to fit in with their peers, feeling concerned about their outward appearances, even facing issues such as sex and experimentation with alcohol and drugs. Having a good relationship away from a family member where the children or young people can feel that they can express their own views and opinions and be respected and spoken to as an equal over important issues in their lives is paramount. Therefore they still require an adult who can give them advice, reassurance, praise and encouragement and understand their needs.
I ensure that I am always at the same level as the children / child that I am communicating with given them time to express themselves, playing and talking to the children showing an interest in them. I also try at all times to use clear and manageable instructions breaking information down into stages. I use lots of praise and encouragement when the children are completing adult led activities or for example showing a drawing, or positive behaviour even including the adult nearby so that the child can have their approval and praise too.
I always praise good manners in children or ask them what would be a nice way to ask for something and I extend this to when I see the children playing and sharing nicely together. With negative behaviour I always explain why the children / child should not be behaving in that way by giving them clear, understandable consequences to think about. With those children who have English as an additional language I will use hand gestures or pointing to pictures to gain their understanding to help them follow activities and daily routines.