Is your child struggling to adapt to a new caregiver?
Here’s good news: pictures are powerful and there’s a way to make them work for you.
A recent study at McGill University (see link below) has once again proven the power of visualization when a group of students radically increased the amount of fruit they consumed within 7 days after imagining themselves making the right choices.
visualization is the process of deliberately using your imagination to create a mental model in your mind. “The mind doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what is imagined, so when you visualize your subconscious encodes this new picture as if it actually happened.”
Although young children are not yet able to form mental pictures of themselves or situations in their minds eye, the potency of visualization is not lost for them. The trick is to physically provide your child with pictures of a particular situation along with a description of the positive emotions and actions that you would like your child to associate with that particular setting.
What you will need
· A camera
· Access to a printer
· An empty photo album or scrapbook
Do the following
- Take photos of your child’s new school. Focus on different “stations of activity” for instance, where he stores his backpack for the day, the toilets (it is important to take an actual photo of the toilet), the carpet where he listens to stories, the chair and table he sits at when doing activities, the playground outside, any “make believe” stations that catch your eye (like a shop corner or hospital scene), and reading corner.
- Make sure to include at least one picture of his caregiver. If you can manage to take a happy photograph of the two of them together, that’s good, otherwise a photo of her alone is perfect. Remember to keep the photos positive and happy! If other children feature in the photos, ask them to smile and wave as you take the picture.
- Place the photographs in an album or book. Write a caption under each photo. Make sure to include POSITIVE EMOTIONS and ACTIONS when writing the caption. Instead of simply saying “This is Miss Sonya” or “This is the reading corner” write something like:
“This is Miss Sonya. Miss Sonya loves Megan. Whenever Megan needs help or feels alone, she goes to Miss Sonya. Miss Sonya thinks Megan is a very special girl!”
“This is the reading corner. Megan loves to page through books in the reading corner. There are many books with many interesting pictures in the reading corner at Megan’s new school.”
· Read the album together as a “story” every night. Point to the pictures and ask questions as you would if you were reading a typical storybook. The more often you read the story, the better.
Same environment, new caregiver?
If the environment has NOT changed but the CAREGIVER is NEW, as in the case of a new teacher at school or a new nanny joining the family, do the following:
· Still take photos of the various “stations of activity” as before, but now place the new person into each of the familiar settings. In other words, let the teacher stand next to the swing or by the toilet when you take a photo of the playground and the bathroom.
The idea is to bring the new person into the familiar setting and making her part of your child’s everyday story.
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