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Using Respectful Words with Children and Families
December 30, 2020
Family is the first school for young children, and parents are powerful models.
-Alice Sterling Honig

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“Words are powerful, influential, even transcendent,” writes Laura Mickley in an article that forms the basis of an Out of the Box Training Kit, “Building Bridges through Words.” She explains: “Our words can encourage growth and inspire development. The words we use with children and families can build strong relationships or erect barricades.”

Here’s are some examples she provides:

“The respect we communicate through our words helps us model what we expect from children; this affects all areas of their development. When we are going to wipe a very young child’s nose, saying, ‘I am going to wipe your nose now’ shows respect. Asking a preschool child if he needs help as he struggles to zip up his coat shows respect. If we jump right into helper mode without those words, we may be impeding progress and disempowering the child..."

Mickley asserts that “the words you choose and how you use them either facilitate positive, effective relationships with children and families or impede those relationships. As early care and education professionals, it is our responsibility to express an interest in families and children. We need to acknowledge children and families’ strengths and the ways in which they are effective...We need to accept the presumptions that all people are basically good, and families want what is best for their children. Upon those presumptions we can build a relationship, the very foundation of which is communication.”





Out of the Box Training Kits

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The Out of the Box Training Kit, Facilitating Collaborations Among Children, is designed to help learners understand how to enrich children’s lives by walking alongside children as they form compassion.

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