During a recent GGK Preschool training, the parent of one four year old commented that her daughter had told her “thank you Mommy…that makes me feel loved.” There’s magic in those words! It’s no accident that E-Parenting makes up the heart of our Daily Do Dude. This parenting skill set is critical to the parent-child relationship. Helping parents stay motivated to practice the E-Parenting Daily Do dozens of times daily can be a real challenge. Initially, when the baby is new, the parent may be very excited and determined to practice this skill, but one Home Visitor asked for suggestions regarding “GGK E-Parenting Boosters” as the babies become toddlers and preschoolers.
Veteran trainer Michelle Simon, has some ideas that might help with this challenge. She recommends that you do the Protective Shield Activity at least once a year.
During the demonstration, ask the parent(s), as you’re adding the layers, what they are doing for their child at this age to add protective layers to his/her Protective Shield. Explore what happens throughout a typical day/week that results in protective layers falling off and what the consequences will be if this happens too frequently.
Next, talk about how family members can add more protective layers each day and how this will help their child feel protected & secure, in addition to learning to self-regulate (manage stress and the behaviors that result when their child has strong feelings).
As you are doing the protective shield, remember to ask parents what the payoffs are now and will be in the future when their child’s protective shield is very strong. Encourage them to discuss how adding lots of layers will result in their child having the characteristics they have identified on their “What I’d Like for My Child” handout.
Give parents lots of opportunities to think about cause and effect parenting and how a really thick and strong Protective Shield contributes to their child not only feeling loved and valued, but also safe and secure, so they can be capable and curious.
Thanks Michelle for reminding us that the Protective Shield demonstration and the “What I’d Like for My Child” hand-out are definite replays! Inspiring parents to do this hard work is a constant challenge. Replaying various pieces of the GGK and GGF curricula will make this part of your job a bit easier.
Don’t forget that your colleagues here at GKI want to support you in your work by offering tips and suggestions that will help answer your questions. So, send them in and we’ll challenge our trainers’ brains. If you have any challenges that you would like help with you can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.