Parents Plus & Parents First Psychology Led Service
Helping children with their behaviour: Connection & Correction
The Two Hands of Caregiving: Connection & Correction
The ‘two hands’ of caregiving help children to thrive.
Hand one is connection – the relationships we build with children through warm, loving interactions, child appropriate experiences and play.
Hand two is correction – the supervision, structure and boundaries that children need to feel safe and secure.
SAILING THE SEVEN SEA’s:
Using Connection & Correction to Respond to Children’s Behaviour (Dr Nicola Canale, 2020)
As well as using the two hands of caregiving in an ongoing way, we can also use connection and correction ‘in the moment’ whilst responding to children’s behaviour. This approach will not only help us to respond to the behaviour but will also help develop children’s ‘self-regulation’ skills so that they are more able to display positive behaviours in the future. Here are 7 steps to help with this:
- Clock it: Do you need to step in for safety or can you ignore the behaviour and/or distract the child?
- Calm yourself: Press pause on your ‘react’ button.
- Calm your child: If your child is overwhelmed by big emotions, settle them and bring them back to a state of calm.
- Curiosity: Try and wonder about the feelings that are underneath the behaviour. For example, think H.A.L.T. – are they feeling hungry, angry, lonely (in need of connection) or tired?
- Connection: Connect the feeling to the behaviour by naming it out loud e.g., ‘I think you are feeling cross because you can’t do the puzzle. Let me help you’. This will let your child know you are trying to understand them and help them calm.
- Correction: Stay firm and consistent with the boundaries you have set. Give an age appropriate consequence if this is necessary. Natural choices and consequences work well with younger children e.g., ‘Wellies on or no park – the choice is yours’.
- (Re)Connect: Repair the relationship through a cuddle or kind words and move on.