Since my last post I have started working at a new childcare center. I’m a lead teacher in a classroom of 7, soon to be 9, infants that range in ages from 4 – 14 months. I work with four teaching assistants who come into and leave the class throughout the day. The center opened on January 3 of this year! Needless to say, it has been a busy month and a half and slowing down is sometimes the last thing on my mind.
Infant specialist and founder of Resources for Infant Educarers®, Magda Gerber states
“Every human being likes to be listened to, to get genuine attention, to feel understood, accepted, approved of and appreciated” from Dear Parent: Caring for Infants with Respect
Who doesn’t want this!? I strongly believe that the way we can give children our genuine attention, listen to them and appreciate who they are during care activates (diaper changes, feeding and supporting children in going to sleep) is by SLOWING DOWN.
But how do you slow down during these activities (especially diaper changes) when you are down a teaching assistant, 5 out of the 7 children are ready for morning naps and all need diapers before the sleep process begins?
You take it one step at a time and remind yourself that everything will get done. That slowing down during diaper changes helps you get to know the child and the child to feel valued. That when you rush through diaper changes you can miss multiple opportunities to connect with a child and opportunities to let them know that you accept them and appreciate who they are.
When I start to feel myself speed up and rush through diaper changes I remind myself of the diaper changes I have done that have been slow and focused. These diaper changes are my favorite! I feel fill up and refueled by them and I think the child does as well. It’s these moments that make me rethink going fast and not involving the child in the process. I ask myself: is going fast really worth missing out on a lovely interaction with a child?
When things start to get busy in the class, know that it’s okay to slow down. It’s okay to go as slow as you need to during diaper changes even when 6 other children need diapers. Remember to take a deep breath and slow down, it will be worth it. It will mean so much more to you and to the child then getting all the diapers done by a certain time on the clock. Remember the relationship is the most important thing and slowing down will support the growth of that relationship.