By Cama Cole
Some moments in time affix themselves to my memory more easily than others. As a mom, I hate that I don’t remember everything. Cliché intended, it all goes by so quickly. If it weren’t for Facebook memories, I’d never get to relive the joy I felt in my now-teenage daughter’s wittiest moments. I also have plenty of memories as a mom that I can only describe as “cringeworthy.” Those difficult moments stick in my brain, and I certainly don’t share them on Facebook.
I vividly remember picking my daughter up at a birthday party when she was 3. She was exhausted. I was anxious about money, bills, and responsibilities. The more she whined, the warmer I felt. As her volume increased, so did my blood pressure. I yelled and banged my hands on the steering wheel. Her whining became wailing. My behavior had informed hers. Cringeworthy.
When a child, whether your own or a child in your care, displays a behavior that is challenging to their adult caregiver, it can be triggering and elicit an immediate emotional response.
This is the focus of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute’s new Professional Development for All (PD for All) series: “Nurturing Positive Adult-Child Interactions When Behaviors Challenge Us.”
Challenging behaviors can heighten anxiety, trigger past trauma, or make us feel frustrated or angry. The ways in which minds and bodies react to external stimuli—challenging behavior—impact the ways in which caregivers respond to a child’s behavior.
How do I respond to my own thoughts, feelings, and emotions when a child in my care displays a behavior that challenges me? How do I know whether a child’s actions are developmentally appropriate or not? What strategies can I use when I am unsure how to respond to escalating behavior?
Three in-person, town hall-style events in late winter and spring 2024 will address questions like these. This free series is open to educators, families, and community members. Licensed child care providers can earn 90 minutes of training for each event.
Join us and register now for our first event on Feb. 29: An Evening With Tabatha Rosproy at the Thompson Alumni Center in Omaha. Attendees will be able to submit questions. And stay tuned for more details on upcoming events and resources, including a community panel and a short video featuring Omaha-area early educators.
Early childhood behaviors can be tough to handle, even when they’re just part of the normal child development process. We’re ready to learn new strategies and consider new perspectives alongside you.
Cama Cole is the associate director of professional learning at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute, where she oversees professional learning initiatives that aim to promote quality, continuity, and equity in early care and education, birth through Grade 3.