SUPPORTING CRYING CHILDREN - OUR PLAN

BIRTH TO 10 MONTHS

  • Move close to the infant, make eye-contact and reflect on child’s feelings.  For example, you can say, “You seem bothered by something. (Pause).  I wonder what it is?”. Provide time for infant to respond.

  • Offer touch either by placing your hand on infant’s body and/or by holding in arms.  Tell infant what you are about to do before doing it.  For example, you can say, “I am going to put my hand on your belly” before placing your hand on his or her belly.

  • Continue to make eye-contact as allowed by the child and continue to observe cues of infant.

  • Check individual chart of child to gather further information about possible basic needs of food, sleep and/or diaper change.  Check to see if infant is showing signs of illness. 

  • Talk to co-teacher if you need help and/or have further questions and/or wonderings.

  • All cries in this age range are cries of distress.  Therefore, caregivers need to do the following:

  • Seek the help of the child’s primary caregiver as soon as possible as crying is an attachment-seeking behavior (not an attention-seeking behavior even though alerting the adult in the environment is one of the outcomes of crying).  It is best if an adult familiar to the child supports the crying child.

  • ​Be responsive and respectful to child’s feelings by:

    • Observing for verbal and non-verbal cues.

    • Wondering out loud what the child may need and ask the child “I wonder what you need?” while gathering information.  This not only provides infants an opportunity to begin to understand the back and forth nature of communication but it also helps your co-teacher to know your thoughts and needs in the moment.

    • Modifying your behavior according to what you observe the child needs.  Observe the response of child.  Modify your behaviors according to child’s response.  Continue observing, wondering and modifying as needed.

10 MONTHS AND OLDER

  • Use the name of the child and acknowledge the child.  Reflect on the child’s feelings while moving closer to child.

  • Sit beside the child and make yourself available to child. It is best if an adult familiar to the child supports the crying child.

  • If child allows it, offer comfort through touch using non-verbal gestures and/or through the use of words.

  • Check child’s individual chart and gather information about possible basic needs of food, sleep and/or diaper change. Check to see if child is showing signs of illness.

  • Talk to co-teacher if you need help and/or have further questions and/or wonderings.

  • Try to find the cause of the different types of cries by observing the context.

  • Who responds?  Primary caregiver and/or child’s choice of caregiver.

  • Be responsive and respectful to child’s feelings by:

    • Observing for verbal and non-verbal cues.

    • Wondering out loud what the child may need and ask the child “I wonder what you need?” while gathering information.

    • Modifying your behavior according to what you observe the child needs.  Observe the response of child.  Modify your behaviors according to child’s response.  Continue observing, wondering, and modifying as needed.

    • Partner with the child during care-giving routines and/or next steps as determined by observing, wondering and modifying.  Children learn through active participation with primary caregiver about what it is to be human.