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Category: Learning

"Want Something Quality Time"

In the RIE philosophy, there is a great emphasis on ensuring that caregiving times are relaxed and enjoyable for children and their caregivers. While this might be a dramatic reframe for some– is it really possible to enjoy changing diapers? — it can make mundane tasks much more pleasant.

Family child care is a unique profession– some days drag out, but many others fly by. Taking any opportunity to slow down and be mindfully present with the children is a way to build relationships with each child and ensure that there is time each day spent in warm individual interactions.

The major criterion that makes an activity “want something” quality time is that the adult has an agenda for the child to participate in. This is typically participating in a care task like diapering/toileting, feeding/eating, or dressing. How can these sometimes stressful occasions become enjoyable for everyone? The answer is simple: play!

When a child is getting changed, songs and nursery rhymes (“This Little Piggy”, “Hickory, Dickory, Dock”) have natural gestures that can be incorporated into dressing the child. Taking some pressure off of meals and offering conversation or even calm games for older toddlers, like “I spy on my plate” or discussing the attributes of the meal.

It’s normal for a child to offer some resistance during care times; babies and toddlers try to roll away from diaper changes, or spit out food, or tantrum to avoid getting dressed. Approaching the child in the spirit of collaboration and fun, while not an immediate “cure” for these behaviors, will change the tone of these interactions over time.

Reflection Questions:

  • What “want something” times are most difficult right now?
  • Consider a child you have struggled to connect with, or who struggles when participating in care tasks: how and when could you use want something quality time to build that relationship?
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