I’ve worked in child care from time to time and today was one of those times. I sub for a local daycare center when they need someone so I worked there today.
I had to teach the three and four year old class, which is always a slight challenge. I mean, put eight three year olds in a room and just see what happens. Let’s be honest here- some children thrive on chaos that they insist on causing. The only reason they’re cute is so you don’t lose your mind.
At the daycare, I always find myself drawn to the trouble makers. I don’t know why, that’s just how it works. The owner was refreshing me on names and one kid she pointed out in particular to not even look at wrong in less you wanted to deal with a screaming fit. Of course, this was the first kid I had in my arms.
Another little guy is always in to something he shouldn’t be. He’s had a rough life (which I should not have to say about a five year old). After I talked him out of throwing stuffed animals, he sat down with a book in hand. Aware that he couldn’t read, I asked if he wanted me to read it to him.
When he said yes, I began to read and two other kids joined us. Both usually getting into trouble as well, I was glad they were sitting still and listening when they didn’t even have to. When the story was over and it was time to go outside, one of them looked at me instead if getting up like the others. He crawled over to me and wrapped his tiny arms around my neck. I squeezed him back.
I know that a lot of times, kids act out to get attention. And no, I don’t think you should condone their acting out in any way. But they do need attention. They do need hugs. They do need kind words. And they need a lot of patience.
In the movie ‘The Sound of Music,” the governess asks the children why they act out. Very simply, they reply, “How else are we to get father’s attention?” Kids don’t see the difference between good attention and bad attention. They just want someone to look at them.
It’s funny to me that if you don’t condone their bad behavior but give them the love they so desperately need, how much better they act and how much easier they listen to you. I’m not saying they shouldn’t get in trouble when they’re being trouble.
I’m just saying it’s incredibly important to affirm them when they’re not.