In the RIE® foundations course I learned that when caregiving, the relationship doesn’t start with the child, it starts with the parents. The parent is trusting you with their child, their child that they love so much, that they would do anything for, that means the world to them. They are trusting a stranger, or someone they don’t know all that well, with a very important person!
I always keep this thought in my mind (the relationship starts with the parents). I have to be honest it didn’t really hit me until I started babysitting (I so badly want a different word to use for babysitting, I don’t sit on babies and I have been watching children who are much older) that this was true! At school I always thought, well if I have a strong connection to the child and I know the child well that will transfer to the parent. This is true in some cases, the children that I’m “their person” I also have a strong relationship with the parents. This thinking is a little backwards but I’m not sure how to change it or why I started thinking like this to begin with. Maybe, because I hardly ever get time to chat with the parents without children in the room and I always get time with the children. There really is no time in the school day to just chat with families.
With watching children outside of school I have noticed that the families where I have a strong relationship with the parents, I have a strong relationship with the children. It’s the parents that respect me, my time, my work and my needs that I connect with right away. It’s the families that I get time to talk with and meet them before I first come over to their house and the ones that spend time talking with me before they leave that I have the strongest connection with. Since we get all this time to chat they tell me all that they can about their children, which does not even begin to scratch the surface on who their children are.
It has really made me wish for more time like this in a child care center. I’m lucky because in reality we do have a lot of this time at work. We start the school year with a welcome back night, we do home visits, and have a fall and spring community night for just adults. I just want more! I wonder what relationships with children and parents would be like if we had more time to just chat and the relationship truly started with the parents?