02 May The tittle of the book: Infants, Toddlers, and Caregivers: A Curriculum of Respectful, Responsive, Relationship-Based Care and Education Janet Gonza
The tittle of the book: Infants, Toddlers, and Caregivers: A Curriculum of Respectful, Responsive, Relationship-Based Care and Education
Below is part of the paperwork reading however need it done with this book only.
The Principles in Action
Principle 9 Build security by teaching trust. Don’t teach distrust by being undependable or often inconsistent.
“Look at this dolly, Cameron,” says her mother as she tries to get 12-month-old Cameron involved in the dress-up area. The two have just arrived, and this is the mother’s first day to leave her daughter. The caregiver approaches, says hello, and then gets down at Cameron’s level. The baby looks at her. Cameron has visited the center several times and recognizes the caregiver, but she’s never stayed without her mother. She smiles happily and holds out a doll to show the caregiver. When the caregiver stands up to talk to the mother, she discovers the mother is gone. She had said earlier that she can’t stand to see her daughter cry, so apparently she just decided to sneak out. Cameron continues holding the doll, but then she looks around and can’t find her mother. She looks puzzled, and then she begins to cry. She ends up wracked in sobs, and the caregiver has a hard time comforting her. The caregiver decides to speak to the mother at the end of the day and tell her about the importance of saying good-bye so that her daughter can predict when she is going to leave. In her experience, children who have no good-bye ritual can’t relax because they never know when people come and go in their lives. She knows that trust is an important issue for Cameron, and she knows it will take time. The first step is to get the mother to say good-bye. Imagine that you are this caregiver.
How do you feel about the mother’s behavior?
How do you feel about Cameron?
How do you feel about the situation?
Do you agree that the caregiver should talk to the mother? Why or why not?
Could the mother’s behavior come from a cultural difference?
What else might you do to help Cameron establish trust?
Milestones of Attachment
Important milestones of attachment influence mental, social, and emotional development. A baby’s crying, pulling away from strangers, and trying to follow a departing parent indicate how attachment changes. Looking at these behaviors in more detail clarifies infant competency.
Attachment Behaviors: Birth to Six Months
Very young children are designed to promote their own attachment. Think for a moment about the variety of behaviors that attract adults to babies. A newborn’s cry elicits feelings in the people who hear it. It is hard to ignore. Crying becomes one of the infant’s strongest signals to the people responsible for his or her care.
Another strong attachment behavior most babies have at birth is the ability to establish eye contact. When a newborn looks right into their eyes, most adults melt. And if you touch the little fingers, they are likely to curl around your big one. If you talk to alert newborns, they are likely to turn toward the sound of your voice. And if you move away from them slightly, their eyes will follow your face. All these behaviors promote attachment.
Studies indicate that babies react differently to the people they are attached to right from the beginning. Later this preferential response becomes obvious as babies cry when the object of attachment leaves the room. This is an important indication that trust is developing. They follow the person with whom they have the attachment, first with gaze alone, then, when they are mobile, by crawling after them.
Pause and review the scene at the beginning of this chapter involving the feeding experience and the interaction between the baby and caregiver. This is a special relationship. These two are a unit. Both feel that this is an intimate moment of a close relationship. This special form of communication—interactional synchrony—is like an “emotional dance.” The caregiver and the baby send each other important signals. Both partners share emotions, especially positive ones.6 The infant has the capacity to elicit delight from another; this in turn gives him pleasure. The example of the feeding experience illustrates some of the repertoire of behaviors involved in attachment. Through these mutually responsive behaviors, which include touching, fondling, and eye contact, as well as feeding, infants and adults form an extremely close relationship. Remember, too, that the information on the brain indicates that these early behaviors begin to form pathways in the brain and may stimulate mirror neurons. These pathways form the physical foundation of trust. Positive experiences stabilize the brain connections. Infants need this relationship because they cannot physically attach themselves to people to get nourished and cared for. They are dependent. Attachment is nature’s way of ensuring that someone will care (in the emotional sense) and provide care (in the physical sense). Remember principle 1: Involve infants and toddlers in things that concern them. Don’t work around them or distract them to get the job done faster.
Attachment Behaviors: Seven to Eighteen Months
Once babies can distinguish their mother or caregiver from other people, two new worries begin. First, at about 8 to 10 months of age, babies begin to fear strangers. Second, now that they know who mother is, they worry about losing her. This latter fear usually appears by about 10 to 12 months. Both of these fears indicate the infant’s ability to discriminate and recognize difference and therefore are obvious signs of mental growth. Corresponding to this second developmental fear is the baby’s inability to understand that objects gone from sight still exist. Jean Piaget called this “object permanence”; it will be discussed further in Chapter 8. Infants’ worry about losing their mother is understandable. They cannot foresee that a separation is only temporary. Knowing this, caregivers find it easier to understand a baby’s desperate protest when he or she is left behind as a parent walks out the door.
Remember Cameron in the Principles in Action box on page 104? What would you try to tell her mother about the developmental milestones of attachment? How can you help this mother better understand her child’s crying?
It may be helpful to emphasize the interplay between dependency, mental development, and trust in this process of attachment. When an 18-month-old child is clinging to his mother and crying for her not to go (obvious dependent behavior), he is also saying “I know I need you” (a mental function). As his mental capacity grows, and his experiences teach him that he can trust his mother to return, from attachment comes trust as he learns that the world is basically a friendly place where he can get his needs met. From attachment also comes autonomy, or independence, as babies grow and begin to take over their caregiving by learning self-help skills. They also find it easier and easier to let go because they know that their parent will be back. This ability to trust a relationship is the foundation for independence—a focus of the toddler period.
This worry about leaving the parent or primary caregiver is called “separation anxiety.” It is usually at its peak as the baby nears the end of the first year of life. If the child enters child care just at this time, the beginning can be very difficult. Children do better if they enter child care before or after the peak of separation anxiety.
Supporting Attachment in Quality Programs
In quality infant-toddler child care programs (center- or home-based), caregivers appreciate and understand attachment milestones. They provide consistent, responsive care and are sensitive to behavior that indicates attachment. They appreciate that crying at departure can indicate a feeling of fear or loss. And they know that in time, predictability of care and familiarity with the setting will promote trust. Once trust can be generalized to caregivers, forming secondary attachments, young children gain the courage to reach out, explore and eventually participate with others. Checking back with a caregiver, or sitting near them for a time, or making eye contact from across the room, provides renewed energy to continue exploration.
Caregivers in quality programs appreciate how significant departures can be in the development of trust for parents, too. It is important to help parents make good-bye predictable and to not sneak away. Gradually young children learn that coming back is also part of saying good-bye. Sensitive caregivers can give both parents and young children the words needed to express difficult feelings. Acceptance of feelings, whatever they are, provides young children with a secure base for emotional development.
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