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I’ve Never had a Child like This!

As childcare providers, we have all seen many different kinds of children. From the quiet watchful boy who will play trucks and read books all day, happy to interact from the sidelines, to the child who won’t…. stop…. moving…., and everyone in between. We love and accept all children from all personalities, family situations, etc. However, every now and then, we get given a child who just isn’t like the others. Just doesn’t fit in, no matter what you do.

This child will test you, the other children and probably, is testing their parents as well – big time! You, as a childcare provider, pretty much have 3 options. 1. Ask the parents to remove the child from your dayhome, 2. Ignore the behaviour, and just accept and know each day you have with that child is NOT going to be fun , or 3. Learn. Study. Experiment. Figure out some strategies that will make everyone’s life more enjoyable.

We often hear the terms of childhood disorders thrown around. ADD, ADHD, ODD, Autism, Sensory Processing disorder. But how much do we, as childcare providers, really know about them? Having a child in your care who does not fit into the realm of “normal” is your opportunity to learn about them. Now, remember, you are not a doctor, you are not a child psychologist. You cannot diagnose a child. BUT…. there are certain behaviour patterns that are associated, and you can learn to recognize them. And once you have recognized those behaviour patterns, you can then learn some strategies to help you, and the child, cope.

However, I warn you, tread lightly. Do NOT say to a parent, “Hey, I did some reading on Google, and I think your child has ADD”. This will NOT go well. Trust me on this. Parents’ ability for denial is extremely powerful. What you CAN do though, is express when you’ve had success and what worked. If the parent expresses frustration about their child to you, you can mention what has worked for you. No need to mention the research you spent all weekend on. No need to mention the other 10 times you too wanted to rip your hair out. But a strategy you have found works for you might be a strategy that parent uses at home, and has success with. And then this may lead to them doing some reading and research.

I believe all people come into our lives for a purpose. Difficult people, whether they be 16 months, or 26 years, stretch us, force us to grow, and if we are willing to listen, teach us about ourselves as well. As a professional, this is an opportunity for professional growth. Embrace it.

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