Creating Safe and Secure Relationships in early learning environments results in children who are confident and curious to learn, more able to problem solve and have increased levels of frustration tolerance. Safe and Secure Relationships are essential and are the foundation in reducing behavioural challenges in all age groups. When a child is treated with empathy, they gain a sense of belonging that leads to positive relationships and optimal learning. Further, when children are treated with empathy they learn how to be empathetic towards others.
In this final article we will examine practical strategies that educators and parents can easily use to promote Safe and Secure Relationships for all age groups. Our language and our actions may look and sound different for each age group but the strategy is the same.
The simplest and most universal strategy that is often overlooked, or seen as not powerful enough, is BUILDING CONNECTIONS. When we, as adults, become genuinely interested and involved in the lives of children, challenging behaviours are reduced. It’s that simple. Be engaged. Be present. Be playful. Be kind. Be helpful. Be respectful. When we treat children as co-learners in life and when we model the behaviour we want to see, children will behave in the way that they have seen.
There are other strategies that can be used, of course, such as Empathetic Response, Calm Down Area, Consistent Routines and Transitions, Minimizing Attention, etc. But none of these strategies will be effective if, as Educators, you don’t have CONNECTION with the children.
Building Connections consists of:
- Greeting children everyday
- Asking about how their school day was
- Asking what materials or activities they would like to have in the classroom or outdoors
- The 2 x 10 Strategy, which means spending 2 minutes with each child for 10 days in a row, leaving behaviour and academics out of the conversation and focusing on what the child is interested in.
- Reinforcing the everyday, naturally occurring desirable behaviours like lining up, picking up toys, sitting well, sharing with peers, waiting and using kind words
In conclusion, Safe and Secure Relationships cannot occur without the time, focus and effort that go into building those relationships.
Team of Behaviour Consultants
Children’s Inclusion Support Services