Tips for respecting children’s spaces, competence, and general existence from a preschool teacher:
- Listen to them
- Ask them, “Do you want to say hi to your auntie/grandma/cousin/dad/whatevs” (Hint: they will be honest and this can result in a simple hello or a hug or a silly “No!” depending how comfortable they feel)
- If they don’t want to hug you realize it’s not that they don’t love you it’s that they don’t know you/don’t feel like hugging.
- Just like every other person who doesn’t want a hug
- In the event that you need to move a child EXPLAIN TO THEM WHY and WHAT YOU ARE DOING don’t just move them like PROPS they are CHILDREN and NOT props
- For instance, “I’m going to move your chair over so we have room at the table for everyone!”
- Or “Sorry there was a person running by I didn’t want you to get smushed so I had to pick you up!”
- Remind them that they are people not objects using your actions
- Asking children to do something they don’t want to do but NEED to do often doesn’t work, instead give them a choice, “Do you want to eat bok choy or yams?”
- NOT “Do you want to eat your vegetables?”
- “Do you want to brush your teeth in the bathroom or the kitchen”
- This exercises their ever-growing free will and is especially useful during TERRIFIC TWOS okay TERRIFIC not TERRIBLE they’re TERRIFIC
- Children will copy you, MODEL FOR THEM
- Being over enthusiastic IS beneficial for them understanding emotional and social competence
- “I hung this picture uneven, that makes me sad, hmmm! Oh goodie, I found my mistake! Now I can fix it, I’ll feel much happier when I’ve fixed it!”
- You think it sounds ridic yeah well hearing you do that children around you just learned to not get so discouraged by their mistakes and that it’s okay to try to fix them
- ADULTS CAN APOLOGIZE TO CHILDREN
- You make a mistake that hurt a child, APOLOGIZE and show them how to do it properly and genuinely
- Realize children are fully competent and are capable of making meanings from YOUR implications about race, culture, gender, ability, sexuality, EVERYTHING
- Many three year olds know what the N-word is, what gay means, can identify which children are visably disabled, and YOUR REACTIONS of their answers of questions about their culture
- Children like to talk about themselves so do not ever dismiss what they say about themselves as illegitimate just because it sounds silly or unlikely sometimes it’s true
- Stop talking about how you hate children, just leave them alone if you don’t understand them you don’t have to be complete jerks to PEOPLE you’ve never met
- I will post more and if people have question PLS ASK ME I WOULD LOVE TO ANSWER WHAT I KNOW
This got so many more notes than I thought it would but wow I am really pleased people are into this and taking this seriously cause it’s my life calling jeeze.
This would have saved so many panic attacks and meltdowns when I was a kid. Also reblogging for those who were at the Teaching Children Age-appropriate Agency panel at wiscon.
by Katia Hetter
My daughter occasionally goes on a hugging and kissing strike.
She’s 4. Her parents could get a hug or a kiss, but many people who know her cannot, at least right now. And I won’t make her.
“I would like you to hug Grandma, but I won’t make you do it,” I told her recently.
“I don’t have to?” she asked, cuddling up to me at bedtime, confirming the facts to be sure.
No, she doesn’t have to. And just to be clear, there is no passive-aggressive, conditional, manipulative nonsense behind my statement. I mean what I say. She doesn’t have to hug or kiss anyone just because I say so, not even me. I will not override my own child’s currently strong instincts to back off from touching someone who she chooses not to touch.
I figure her body is actually hers, not mine.
It doesn’t belong to her parents, preschool teacher, dance teacher or soccer coach. While she must treat people with respect, she doesn’t have to offer physical affection to please them. And the earlier she learns ownership of herself and responsibility for her body, the better for her.
Would you want your daughter to have sex with her boyfriend simply to make him happy? Parents who justify ordering their children to kiss grandma might say, “It’s different.”
No, it’s not, according to author Jennifer Lehr, who blogs about her parenting style. Ordering children to kiss or hug an adult they don’t want to touch teaches them to use their body to please you or someone else in authority or, really, anyone.
“The message a child gets is that not only is another person’s emotional state their responsibility but that they must also sacrifice their own bodies to buoy another’s ego or satisfy their desire for love or affection,” said Lehr.
“Certainly no parent would wish for their teenager or adult child to feel pressure to reciprocate unwanted sexual advances, yet many teach their children at a young age that it’s their job to use their bodies to make others happy,” she said.