Imagine walking down the street and all the sudden a giant approaches you and scoops you up, thrusting your body flying into the air without any advance notice why or warning that they are going to do so. Startling right? (and not just because a giant randomly appeared beside you) This happens to young humans all the time. For them, being picked up is unavoidable; We can't let them lay in a poop diaper all day, we need to pick them up to change the diaper. So, what do we do? Well, part of this idea of #SeeingHuman is assessing everyday life experiences of young humans and ensuring that we are treating them with respect, and giving them power in areas where they may have none. How we pickup young humans is a simple way to do this by letting young humans know when we are going to pick them up, and picking them up in a routine, respectful and safe way.
Here is how we pickup young humans at Bridges Care and Education Center:
First, get down in a comfortable position next to the young human; facing them so their body is perpendicular to yours.
Second, let the young human know that you will be picking them up. Language is important here, "I am going to pick you up" denotes an action that will be happening. "Can I pick you up?" is a question where there is a choice not to be picked up which could be confusing and/or counterintuitive to your goal to pick them up. Compounding your words with an action is also important, so the young human can associate the initial action as a cue that they will be picked up. Using the hand closest to the young humans head, run your hand from their shoulder closest to you to their shoulder farthest from you.
Third, pick the young human up. Start by completing the shoulder cue motion by wrapping your hand around the shoulder and rotating their body up slightly off the ground while taking your other hand and sliding it under their body to support their head and neck while using your other hand to pick them up. This helps them feel more grounded versus flying uncontrollably through the air. After picking a young human up, make sure their arm is not stuck behind you or against your body.
Notice that the actual act of picking them up is the third and final step, taking time shows respect, rather than rushing in and taking control by quickly scooping them up into the air.
BONUS POINT: The basket hold. Now that you've taken the time to respectfully pick up a young human, how you carry them is important. Turning them inward towards your body takes away the power to see where they are going and their surrounding environment and restricts their ability to move their arms and legs. Holding a young human facing outwards, on the side of your body with your arm supporting their body and your hand under their bottom (like they are in a basket) gives them a wider range of movement as well as the ability to see the world around them.
It all begins with seeing human! Comment below with your thoughts, share photos or stories of your pickup/carrying successes, and let us know if you have any questions!