A few weeks ago we decided to take advantage of the "New Year, Fresh Start" mentality and make some changes in the structure of our activity room. This is the room where seven of our older children spend most of their time, and in an attempt to make it more home-like, we moved the sofa from the children's bedroom into their playroom. They really only use their bedroom for sleeping, so having the sofa in there really wasn't necessary.
We are always trying to think of ways to make the room more home-like. It's one of the questions that we ask ourseleves all of the time, "Can we make this more like a home than it is now?"
Kristiana and Stephanie were in their standers while we moved the sofa, as it was their regularly scheduled standing time (from 8:30-9:30am). They watched the action while playing with some cause-and-effect toys.
After the sofa was moved, Brian had a meeting with the nannies. He encouraged them, and challenged them.
"The children you are caring for are not like other children, they are different, which makes them special! It means that you must also care for them differently than you might normal children, and this makes each one of you a special mama; and not just special, but very capable, because you must learn many things in order to help the kids."
"Your most important role is not as a teacher, nor is it that you can work as a therapist... your most important role is being a mama. And because you are mamas for special needs children, you are very special mamas."
"The three most important things that you, as special mamas, must help the children understand is:
1) I am loved
2) I am safe
3) I can do it.
This is all that we are asking of you."
"If a child is never given love, they will begin to believe, 'no one could love me.' If they never feel safe when they are this young, then when they grow up they will have trouble believing that they could ever be. If they do not believe, 'I can do it!' then they never will.
You are here to tell them the truth, and then to teach them to believe it."
Since the training, we have seen a lovely transformation in both the nanny's dedication to their work, and also in the children's development and in their spirits. Before the training, our nannies were indeed doing incredible and hard work, but since then it's like something has clicked. Teach them that they are loved. Help them feel safe. Remind them that they can do it. The most important lessons that any mother can teach, and that a child can ever learn.
Love grows here.