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playitagain
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Hi

 

I am curious to know what everyone thinks about staff picking up children who are crying? Do you just do it, consider whether its necessary, avoid it, do you have policies about it? What is and isn't acceptable?

Somehow staff in my new setting have the idea that this is a bad idea and that they will become too used to it, too 'clingy' and that they don't need it...that it will make things difficult when they move groups. Now ive read about this sort of thing in books but Its not something ive ever come across in practice till now and it doesn't sit well with me. I'm afraid I cannot follow the same practice.

 

I don't know whether staff are simply worried about safeguarding issues...i.e. being too careful or whether they simply don't want children to bond for fear of how the separation that will come later affects them or some other barrier (misreading a policy??) but it seems very cold to tell a child "no I'm not picking you up" when they are holding up their arms and crying!!!

If a child falls at home doesn't a parent comfort them, pick them up...?

...personally I feel that children actually become more unsettled and 'clingy' when they don't get that interaction...and I mean when they specifically seek it out obviously - not staff going and randomly picking up and hugging a child.

 

So far ive been observing and gently modelling as I'm not long in post but the frowns and mutterings when I pick up a child makes me feel I may need to create some 'positive contact policy' or something to encourage responsiveness...so just wondering what others think about the subject in general.

 

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Hi, children need to feel safe, secure and happy within their environment to thrive and this should include cuddling, picking up, alongside encouraging words, if needed. I would feel very disapponted if any of our staff did not react to an upset child for any reason.

Can I ask the age of the children in question.

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ALL children need to feel safe, secure and cherished. If they are hurt, a quick cuddle will often settle them...............along with some encouraging words. It won't make them dependent on staff, instead it will reassure them that staff are there for them when needed.

 

I despair of a life where children can't be cuddled.................where the PC brigade take over from natural, common sense and 'from the heart' behaviours. The day I can't cuddle a child who needs, or wants it is a day to close shop.

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When I have done safe guarding training, the message has always been that we should not be afraid to cuddle the children.

I don't feel that you should need a policy to cover that but if it made staff feel safer then I don't see how it could hurt.

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Hello

 

In my setting we do have a Physical Contact code of practice as it makes it clear to parents and staff how physical contact can be used as part of the EY curriculum (PSED).

 

I also want to say it depends on the child's needs and again the character of the practitioner; as I have observed scenarios such as story time the supporting practitioners will sit down with the children for story and there are children who may want that closeness so may sit close or on a practitioner's lap and if that practitioner moves the child away the child then looks for the next available adult with whom they can feel close to and share that bonding until it is not needed any longer. I see my preschoolers growing in confidence and when ready they make choices to not need that comfort/contact.

 

Having said that I have not seen my staff behaving too over familiar with a child where it has caused me concern. As I do remember at a day nursery I visited I observed one staff member always interrupting the baby's play as they kept picking the baby up even though the baby wasn't looking for that attachment or comfort at that time. It looked like it was for more reassurance for the adult than the baby.

 

Its an interesting topic, I also heard of a private reception class, so children are still 4-5 years old and when a child was hurt and in distress and needed comfort it was policy that you were only allowed to use an open hand on the top of the arm to comfort children and that was having your arm stretched out so no other part of you was touching the child: that seems too distant for me. How can we role model actions of nurture and care if we are not being allowed to make positive, purposeful contact with the child?

 

It may be good to discuss with your team as to why their practice has evolved in this way; at least it will give everyone a chance to have their say and decide what your next steps are.

Edited by Amina_Hussain
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There are lots of reasons why you should be picking children up in the under 3's ...comfort and security just being two but also they need to learn about their bodies in relation to the world and stabilise their core muscles etc this helps them with proprioception difficulties muscle development etc etc so I would say there is more evidence to say do it than not.

 

 

 

on a personal note when I am told not to comfort children then I will leave the profession! :wacko:

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I would be right behind you fm :(

 

What absolute nonsense of course children should be comforted with a cuddle - further to that I'm sure that anyone who wouldn't just do so instinctively should not be involved in childcare

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just once piece I found.......

 

3. Pick up your baby when they cry. Study after study shows that no sound is more aversive than a crying baby. Why does every fiber in your being want that baby to be quiet? Because evolution has designed us to pick up crying babies. And designed them to cry when they need us.

  • The faster you pick up an infant, the more independent toddlers they become. In the height of behaviorism, when many child developmentalists believed all aspects of infant behavior was determined by reward and punishment, Eleanor Maccoby did a great study. She measured how long it took for mothers to respond to infant cries and followed these mother-child dyads for several years.
  • The faster moms picked up infants, the less babies cried.
  • Babies who were picked up fast grew up to be the most independent and curious toddlers.
  • Competent babies know how to get people to fulfill their needs - they cry and then they smile when someone comes.
  • Competent toddlers know how to explore the world - they use their loved ones as a safe base from which to explore.

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I couldn't imagine how any parent would feel knowing that their child wouldn't be appropriately comforted at pre-shool/nursery :(

 

I am with sunnyday...as a parent I would have been distraught to think if my children had needed a comforting hug it was refused.

 

As for me when I was in a setting I always picked up a crying child and always had a few on my lap when reading stories and I would not have been happy doing my job if this had not been allowed....if I had been told I could not then that would have been me out the door....it seems not just cold but almost cruel to refuse to comfort a crying child :(:(:(

 

In addition to other theorists views on attachment this says it all to me:

 

Isaacs’ Theories
The Value of the Nursery School
The early years setting was a place that should both mirror the family through love and warmth, as well as offering new and exciting opportunities and resources that might not be available at home.
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Thanks so much for all your input - really helpful ....the children are babies upwards - across the whole age range really.

I will persevere and take it up a gear now....finleysmaid your snippet says it all - just the kind of thing I needed to share.

 

Maybe a lovely display with lots of 'hug' photos, quotes and info like this will move things in the right direction :1b

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Goodness, how very sad that, for whatever reason, staff feel it not appropriate to pick up a crying infant or child.....what is childcare if not about care....that's emotional care every bit as much as physical care surely?

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We have just done some training on 'Five to Thrive' which is based upon the attachment theory and how the brain develops, based on scientific evidence.

'Respond,Cuddle, Relax, Play, Talk'

At present we are rolling it out to our staff and parents.

The training was a real eye opener and if it is available in your area I would strongly recommend it.

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Playitagain - is it the actual physical picking up that is the problem with your staff rather than the cuddles or both? I know that some training is against picking up on health and safety grounds eg bad backs or dropping children and safeguarding eg the child is not in control if being held by adult. I am not saying I agree with this but it could be a reason for reluctance. Personally, I find its a natural instinct to pick up a child who is hurt or distressed.

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