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With Kids, Connection is the Key

We know that, but we need regular reminders

When child psychiatrist Jean Clinton starts talking you just know that before long you’ll hear words like 'relationships' and 'connecting'. Witness the following lovely little quotes from Jean’s keynote address at this year’s (virtual) Self-Reg Summer Symposium.

“Relationships are the active ingredient in children’s development.”

“Who we are is the product of experiences and relationships.”

“The brain is a social organ. We are wired to be ‘felt’ by others.”

“I have a concept of how change happens: through relationships and connection.”



Would you say you’re getting Dr. Jean’s drift?

On one hand, you might say she’s simply reminding us of good ideas that have been around for a long time. It’s easy to embrace statements that reinforce our belief in the power of good relationships. Yet, it’s worth reflecting on why Jean feels the need to keep reminding us about it. For one thing, it might be that there is so much stuff that can draw our minds away from the importance of relationships in children’s brain development.

First of all there are products, like Baby Einstein videos, specially designed toys that teach kids about animals and colours, or computer programs that claim to build children’s brains (but don’t really).

Moreover, parents’ and educators’ time and energy is constantly occupied with the tasks of caring: keeping kids safe, clean, fed and well-rested. Teaching them to behave, and, if you’re an educator, churning through those curriculum expectations. We can connect with kids when we’re tasking, but it’s not always uppermost on our minds.

Yet, the truth is, anything we do to care for, raise and teach children will go better in the context of trusting and supportive relationships. That also applies to practicing Self-Reg, which is why we say, “Self-Reg starts with a relationship.”

The strategies we use in guiding and teaching kids are never more important than the relationships we have with them. That just might be why you’ll never get Dr. Jean to stop reminding us about connecting with kids. This blog is a summary of a talk by Dr. Jean Clinton from TMC's Annual Summer Symposium - Find out more here


Read the full blog on TMC's website here

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5件のコメント


Face to face interaction and connection-being drawn into a child's world to engage with him/her personally- is a beautiful thing. who was it that said ( to paraphrase) every child should have someone who's face lights up when they enter a room.?

いいね!
Aviva Dunsiger
Aviva Dunsiger
2021年3月30日
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Gigi, this makes me think about the Ted Talk by Rita Pierson: https://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion?language=en. All kids do deserve a champion.


Aviva

いいね!

Aviva Dunsiger
Aviva Dunsiger
2020年9月02日

Thanks John! I'm hoping that we can all share what we do to also learn more ideas from each other.


Aviva

いいね!

John Hoffman
John Hoffman
2020年9月02日

Thanks Aviva! Yes. Connecting with students will be a different kind of challenge this year. I will be interested in hearing about how educators deal with this and the many other challenges of the coming school year.

いいね!

Aviva Dunsiger
Aviva Dunsiger
2020年9月02日

Thanks for this post, John! I love Jean Clinton's work because of her emphasis on connections/relationships. As we head back to school, these connections will be so important. We're going to need to look at new ways to form these relationships with kids and families, but both will definitely need them. This makes me think about the Ministry advertisement that I heard on the radio recently about their back-to-school plan. What I struggled with the most was a comment around "connecting with kids," and how there would be limited interactions. Now I probably have the wording wrong. I realize that they were likely focused on physical closeness, but it made me think, we need to think of other ways to…


いいね!
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