Improving my Teaching Practice

Respecting what a child wants/needs and myself

Wow it has been awhile since I have posted! And so much as had happened. In the first week of September our center shut down and all of the teachers came to work for a week of professional development. This week was spent listening to presentations and preparing our classrooms for a new year. This school year I am working in the infant room with children who are, right now, between 4 and 7 months.

I have been thinking and reflecting a lot and I probably could have written a post every single day since the new school year has started! This year I am also a mentor teacher and the new hire coordinator. Great things are happening!

Lately I have been really thinking about how to balance what a child is used to and who I am as an educarer. An example is: a child who is used to being held or in a carrier. At school we don’t use carriers and I’m not a teacher who holds children all day long. Neither one of these things is bad, they are just very different. Children come to expect what they are used to. A child who is close to a person’s body all day learns to want that closeness so spending time laying on the carpet can feel VERY different. So how do I respect what this child wants/needs and myself?

After talking to several of my mentors about this I have come up with a plan. First I have to learn when a child is telling me they really want to be held. Then I will tell them something like “you’re telling me you really want to be held. I’m going to pick you up. I will hold you for a while and then I’m going to put you back on the carpet.” I’ve been saying this for the past week and it helps me respect myself and my own limits. I just hope that the children feel respected as well. The trickiest part for me is knowing when the child is “filled up” with being held, when have I helped meet this need and when can I set them down? I feel like I might not be holding the child long enough. I hold them for a few minutes thinking their need is filled but when I set them down they get upset again. How can I tell when an infant is filled up? I’ve been trying to slow this process down and hold the child for longer. I guess I also need to learn when the child is telling me they are ready to lay back down.

My biggest take away from reflecting about this is: everything takes time. I need to give the children time to get used to new things and I need to give myself time to learn who each child is and how they communicate with me.


2 thoughts on “Respecting what a child wants/needs and myself

  1. G’evening___…your feelings perhaps, on all the recent glamor Photo Oping of mothers breastfeeding to promote Normalize Breastfeeding…is it violating the privacy of infant rights…?…is it rude to photograph while “eating”/nursing…?…is it normal/natural to breastfeed infants while standing and posing on streets and sidewalks for what appears to be glamor shots with the adornments of nursing infants…?…the later impact of such Photo Oping on the children…? ~echoes of “Thanks!” and concerns for the rights of infants~


    1. Hi Mea, sorry for the delay in my response. I really had to think about your questions and I’m not even sure if I have an answer yet but here we go.

      I actually haven’t seen the Photo Oping but when you use the words glamor, photos and infants all together it really doesn’t give me a great feeling. I’m all for promoting breastfeeding, it’s why we have breasts!

      It would be so beautiful to have a picture of a mother nursing her child during their natural routine (this could look very different for each person). It would be amazing to capture that connection that happens and to see the love between the two. A photo like this could bring me to tears. I think it really depends on the intent for the photo. Is it coming from a place of respect for the mother, child and breastfeeding process? Then intent, I think, will determine if it’s rude to the infant or not.

      Is it normal to stand and pose while breastfeeding? I don’t know the answer to that. What I do know is that it could be seen as normal to photograph a mother and child in their normal breastfeeding routine. Changing the routine to spicy up the shot would be disrespectful to the child, that’s how I feel.

      The later impact on the child, that’s a great question. I think that the photos will probably have an impact on the child especially when they look back at them as an older child. I think that the mother’s explanation of why will have a huge impact on the child as well. Maybe even more so than the photo.

      Hope this helps a little. Always happy to reflect on all of the hard questions with you some more!


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