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1 that keep families strong
6 PROTECTIVE FACTORS that keep families strong Created by the Midwest Learning Center for Family Support at Family Focus, Inc. Chicago, IL Facilitator Welcome participants to this training. Introduce yourself and other key players. Ice Breaker – Getting to Know You Bingo Note to Facilitator – A variety of ice breakers are in the ice breaker section of the facilitators guide. Have participants introduce themselves to the group and ask them to state their name, the center they are from, how many years they’ve been working with children and families, and what they would like to learn.

2 Purpose of this learning opportunity!
To deepen the understanding of protective factors and how they relate to prevention of child abuse and neglect. 2. To explore how early care and education centers can implement strategies that build the protective factors. To the Facilitator: Distribute the participant agenda and the handout packet. Handout packet Agenda Strengthening Families Logic Model Mindful Reflection Worksheet Scenario Worksheet Review the purpose of this learning opportunity.

3 Learning Objectives At this training participants will:
Gain an understanding about the 4 protective factors related to adults the one protective factor related to children and the sixth protective factor parent-child relationships. Gain insight into how the protective factors prevent child abuse and neglect. Identify strategies that contribute to strengthening each of the protective factors in the daily operations of an early care and education center. To the Facilitator You can either present the learning objectives to the participants or ask for volunteers to read the objectives to the group.

4 How Early Childhood programs contribute
to prevention of child abuse and neglect Program Strategies that: Facilitate friendships and mutual support Strengthen parenting Respond to family crises Link families to services and opportunities Value and support parents Facilitate children’s social and emotional development Observe and respond to early warning signs of child abuse or neglect. Protective Factors Social and Emotional Competence of Children Concrete supports in times of need Knowledge of Parenting & Child Development Parental Resilience Social Connections Parent-Child Relationship CAN Prevention Facilitator to the Group: This is the Strengthening Families Logic Model which directly relates to how early care and education programs contribute to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Since 1996 passage of Welfare Reform more parents are in the workforce 60% of all children less than 6 years of age are in out of home care 75% of children birth to three are in out of home care It is a systematic way to reach large numbers of children daily. Illinois is one of 7 states that has been selected to pilot this innovative approach to protect children. The Center for the Study of Social Policy spent 2 yrs. Investigating protective factors and how to keep kids safe. They reviewed research in the field of child abuse and neglect, prevention, and family resiliency, and conducted a national study of exemplary programs . They also interviewed hundreds of experts, researchers practitioners and parents. Research has revealed that the protective factors are linked to a lower incidence of child abuse and neglect. Common program strategies in quality early care and education programs have been identified which build protective factors in families. Notes to Facilitator: Review each program strategy and the protective factors with the group. There is not a one to one direct correlation between the protective factors and the program strategies. There are five protective factors and there are seven program strategies. We do know that the protective factors and the program strategies are related and have a direct effect on the prevention of child abuse and neglect. The Strengthening Families approach is a promising universal approach. One in which parents are “empowered consumers” not clients or recipients.

5 What is a Protective Factors Approach?
An approach that looks at the existing strengths of families and builds upon these strengths to keep families healthy and children safe. To the Facilitator: Introduce the group to a protective factor approach and how it differs from a risk factor approach. Use the following question(s) to generate discussion around the protective factor approach vs. a risk factor approach. Are you familiar with the risk factor approach? Have any of you ever used an assessment tool? A child abuse and neglect risk assessment? What types of questions did it ask about families? Purpose of the Discussion: To assist participants with an understanding of how the Strengthening Families approach focuses on strengths and builds upon these strengths in working with families. In addition, it helps differentiate this approach to child abuse and neglect prevention from other prevention programs that targets “high risk or at risk families”. To the Group A protective factor approach differs from a risk factor approach. A risk factor approach seeks to identify families who have common characteristics or risk factors that qualify them as “at risk” for child abuse and neglect. The Strengthening Families pilot project is based on building resilience in families rather than reducing risks for child abuse and neglect. We will spend some time today taking a look at the Protective Factors in depth and then look at the strategies that help build resilience in families.

6 Protective Factors Parental Resilience Social Connections
Social and Emotional Competence of Children Concrete supports in times of need Knowledge of Parenting & Child Development Parental Resilience Social Connections Parent-Child Relationship Facilitator: The first protective factor that we will explore is “Parental Resilience”

7 What is resilience? To the Group: What is resilience?
Facilitator: Elicit responses from the participants. Acknowledge and validate participants contributions to the discussion. “Human capacity and ability to face, overcome, be strengthened by, and even transformed by experiences of adversity.” Skills for Tomorrow (Website)

8 Rebounding What is resilience?
Overcoming tough times Surviving troubled families Rebounding What is resilience? Springing back Rising Above Adversity Facilitator: Read each description to the group. Where applicable, relate participants responses from the previous discussion to these definitions. End the discussion by giving the Skills for Tomorrow ‘s definition of resilience. To the Group: According to the website Skills for Tomorrow, resilience is defined as “Human capacity and ability to face, overcome, by strengthened by, and even transformed by experiences of adversity”. Large Group Discussion Ask participants if any word stands out for them from this definition. Purpose of this group discussion As one of the protective factors, parental resilience is about people having the ability to move beyond adverse situations to move forward rather than getting stuck. It is imperative that participants have an understanding of what resilience is, and that they can personally relate resilience to their own life experiences. Participants should complete this discussion having an understanding of how adverse situations can be transformative. It can actually build strength in individuals and families. “Human capacity and ability to face, overcome, be strengthened by, and even transformed by experiences of adversity.” Skills for Tomorrow (Website)

9 Time to reflect! A Mindful reflection
Remember a time when you were in a situation where you were resilient, you ‘bounced back’ when you handled something challenging and realized that you got stronger doing it? See Mindful Reflection Handout - The questions for this activity will be on a handout. Facilitator: Read the directions for this reflection. Give participants a minute or two to think about their response. Pair and Share Group participants using decks of cards. Each participant is given a card and asked to find the person in the room that has their matching card. Option – If decks of cards aren’t available ask participants to pair up with a partner to the right and share their reflection. Reflection Handout - After a short sharing with a partner, ask a couple of volunteers to share their responses with the full group. Examples may include: Resilient while going through the center’s accreditation process, being resilient with the loss of a loved one, while terminating an employee, etc. Purpose of the activity This is a powerful exercise! The stories that participants share may be huge life events or small occurrences. However big or small, these stories of resiliency help participants understand the meaning of being resilient as it relates to their life and the life of the parents in the day care centers where they work. In order to build resiliency in parents, participants must have an understanding of what resiliency is and how to support the families they work with. Note to the Facilitator – give a small token of appreciation to participants that share their experiences. Tokens can be as simple as pencils, stickers, candy, etc.

10 Enhance Parental Resilience times when parents feel supported
Strengthening Families defines parental resilience as psychological health times when parents feel supported can develop trusting relationships with others reach out for help are able to solve problems Facilitator: Have a participant read the definition of parental resilience as defined by the Strengthening Family initiative. Facilitator - To the Group: The issue is not that families are experiencing stress, all families do - the question is: When a family experiences stress how do they respond? Resilience is about responding to stressful situations in positive ways. Large Group Discussion: Read the statement in the box to participants. Ask the group if they have any examples of how a parent’s childhood experience may impact their ability to be resilient? Generate responses from the group. This discussion may include examples of childhood experiences such as: “My mother spanked me. So I’m going to spank my children…I turned out ok.” This discussion may also include a polarity response from childhood experiences such as: “I’m not going to do it the way my parents did it.” Background information for facilitator: For parents who have had difficult childhoods getting to resiliency is about being “re-parented”. This includes supporting and encouraging parents to internalize new messages that they are capable, and able to solve problems will enhance their resilience. Parents’ ability to be resilient is impacted by their own childhood experiences.

11 Resilience of staff, educators, administrators of the center
How does the resilience of the staff, educators, and administrators effect parental resilience? How do staff learn to be resilient? Facilitator Notes: The resilience of the staff, educators and administrators may affect parental resilience. If these individuals are experiencing stress either at work or at home their resilience can be compromised. To the Group How can the resilience of staff impact the resilience of parents? How can or do staff learn to be resilient? Note to Facilitator Staff either have experiences of being resilient and draw upon these life experiences to remain resilient or staff must be nurtured, mentored, or trained to be resilient. Supervisors of child care programs must ensure that staff is resilient and can support parents in building their resiliency.

12 What are characteristics of a resilient parent?
What happens when a parent isn’t resilient? Large Group Discussion What are characteristics of a resilient parent? Ask participants to share success stories about parents who are or have been resilient at their day care centers. What happens when a parent isn’t resilient? If parents aren’t resilient, how can this possibly lead to child abuse and neglect? Note to Facilitator Be ready to give an example to the group, such as the following. If a parent isn’t resilient when children exhibit challenging behaviors parents may react with physical abuse rather than utilizing other techniques to deal with the challenging behavior. Parents may parent the way in which they were parented. If a parent was spanked as a child, the parent may also spank their children. A parent may not intend to do harm when spanking a child, however research shows that a parent may not be able to determine their own strength when using corporal punishment. What starts out as a simple form of discipline may cross the line to abuse.

13 We want to help parents build resilience.
To the Group: To help parents build resilience, one thing Early Care and Education programs can provide is “consistency of caring.” Use daily contact with parents to send consistent messages: that the parent is valued, that staff is concerned about them, and that there is support available. Relate this protective factor to strategies that build resilience in families. Valuing and supporting parents are 2 of the strategies that child care centers use to build resilience in families.

14 Protective Factors Parental Resilience Social Connections
Social and Emotional Competence of Children Concrete supports in times of need Knowledge of Parenting & Child Development Parental Resilience Social Connections Parent-Child Relationship Facilitator to the Group: The next protective factor is: “Social Connections”

15 What do we mean by social connections?
Facilitator: What do we mean by social connections? Generate a brief discussion with participants about their knowledge of social connections. To the Group: For preventing child abuse and neglect, it’s not just having social connections, but the quality of the connections especially: Social networks that include positive norms about parenting Connections that help families to access resources—e.g. a friend that will provide babysitting, or a listening ear. When parents don’t have social connections they are frequently socially isolated. Social isolation is strongly connected to child abuse and neglect (and other issues we care about). What do we mean by social connections?

16 Develop Social Connections
Relationships with extended family, friends, co-workers, others Parents with children of similar ages Mutual assistance networks: child care, emotional support, concrete help. Isolated families, working families, families living in dangerous communities may have fewer positive social connections. Facilitator: Read the definition of developing social connections and the comment in italics. Large Group Discussion - Ask participants to share their responses with the full group. How can a lack of social connections lead to child abuse and neglect? What are you doing in your program to build social connections? Facilitator background information about the social connections protective factor: Share comments below with the group (if needed): We all know that early care and education programs are a primary place where parents of young children can meet and develop social networks with others Programs can be intentional by: Reaching out and connecting the most isolated parents to social activities at the center Providing informal space for parents to “hang out” Providing structured activities that bring parents together Blending social & parent education activities (to support positive norm building within the parent network) Example from an Exemplary Program At The Carole Robertson Center in Chicago, Illinois, social connections is their area of expertise. Staff have to become comfortable and have to feel a certain sense of credibility to intervene with families and invite them to events. Staff also keep trying to help build social connections and provide different opportunities to make this happen for families. In addition, solid management staff ensures that social connections are made among the staff, as well as among the parents.

17 Protective Factors Parental Resilience Social Connections
Social and Emotional Competence of Children Concrete supports in times of need Knowledge of Parenting & Child Development Parental Resilience Social Connections Parent-Child Relationship Facilitator to the Group: The third protective factor that we will explore is: “Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development” Note to facilitator Recognize that the audience that you are training are early childhood professionals. They will have varying levels of knowledge and experience based on both formal education and daily experience working in early care and education settings. It is important to acknowledge, validate and honor the participants expertise around this protective factor. Encourage and facilitate the active involvement of all participants. Now would be an appropriate time to ensure that all participants in the training have a voice and are contributing to the transfer of knowledge by: Sharing their individual centers’ practices for providing information on parenting and child development to parents. Sharing strategies for how a center shares information with parents in their centers; i.e, written handouts, parent nights that focus on child development, etc. Observation of children in the class room setting to understand children’s behavior developmentally.

18 Build Knowledge of Parenting
Large Group Discussion – elicit responses from participants Why is it important for parents to have knowledge of parenting skills and child development? Optional Activity– co-facilitator may record responses on a flip chart. Responses should include: Having knowledge of parenting and child development allows parents to have Appropriate expectations of their child(ren) Anticipate developmental milestones Knowledge of appropriate development and recognition of developmental delays Note to Facilitator Lack of knowledge about child development and or inappropriate expectations is often associated with child abuse and neglect. Developmental milestones of children are often associated with challenging behaviors and can lead to child abuse and neglect. An Example of inappropriate expectations: Parents who are attempting to potty train their child when the child is not developmentally ready to be potty trained may experience a lot of stress and frustration. Children who are being potty trained but aren’t developmentally ready for this milestone may inadvertently experience abuse. Material Needed: Flip chart for Optional Activity Build Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development

19 Knowledge of parenting and child development
Basic information about how children develop Ways to help children develop Dealing with developmental challenges Alternative parenting practices Understanding ways to help children with special needs or who are victims of child abuse and / or neglect. Facilitator notes to explain/support the knowledge of parenting and child development protective factor It is crucial for parents to have reasonable expectations of their child based on an understanding of child development. In addition parents who are knowledgeable about child development can anticipate and support the on-going development of their children. Parents who have knowledge of child development are better able to identify and flag developmental issues. Finally parents need alternative ways of responding to their children rather than the ones they learned based on how they were parented (especially parents who were abused or neglected as children) Large Group Discussion – elicit specific responses How does your center assist parents with knowledge of parenting and child development? Note to facilitator This discussion will give others new ideas and strategies about how to share information about parenting and child development Responses should include: Providing ‘just in time” parent education—information to parents when an issue (e.g. biting) is happening—rather than within the schedule of a parent education class. Using observation as a strategy to model new behaviors or to support understanding of developmental issues. Parent education is provided within the context of trust and the belief by the parent that the provider “knows their child”. Helping parents understand child development may be one of the protective factors that many early care and education programs focus on. Example from an Exemplary Program Sheltering Arms Child Development and Parent Education Center ensures that parenting education takes place all the time. They have regular opportunities for sharing formal and informal information on parenting and other issues Monthly parent meetings Outside speakers Parents share their expertise They have Family Support Coordinators trained to provide parenting classes Information is available in English and translated into Spanish and Vietnamese to accommodate all families at the center Facilitator Generate a discussion around how participant programs are intentional about sharing knowledge of parenting and child development with their families. This discussion will allow participants to share how they are successfully doing this in their centers, will provide concrete strategies to others, and will encourage participants to think of a variety of ways that this protective factor can be strengthened in their center.

20 Protective Factors Parental Resilience Social Connections
Social and Emotional Competence of Children Concrete supports in times of need Knowledge of Parenting & Child Development Parental Resilience Social Connections Parent-Child Relationship To the Group: The last protective factor specific to parents is to offer concrete supports in times of need.

21 Offer Concrete Support in Times of Need
Able to meet basic needs Know where to go to get help when needed Access to use appropriate services Follow through to address the problem/issue/crisis To the Group Providing concrete support is an important way of intervening before a crisis occurs. For services such as mental health, domestic violence, and substance abuse the issue is often not only the lack of knowledge about the services but issues of stigma and lack of trust. Early Care and Education programs can leverage their trusting relationship with families to help families overcome barriers to accessing needed services.

22 What are some concrete supports for your family when in times of need?
Time to reflect! A Mindful reflection What are some concrete supports for your family when in times of need? Facilitator: Refer to Mindful Reflection Handout To the Facilitator To get participants engaged during this learning opportunity we want them to reflect on their own personal experience. Ask participants to think about a time when their family needed support. Give the participants a few minutes to think about their personal story. Have participants write their response on the Mindful Reflection worksheet. Pair and Share Share responses with a partner. Note to the Facilitator Move to the next slide and leave the slide on the screen while the participants record and share their stories.

23 Think of a time when your family needed support.
More reflection Think of a time when your family needed support. What kind of support did your family need? Who provided the support you needed? Facilitator - Ask a couple of participants to share their reflections with the whole group. Tell the group that it is not necessary to share all of the details of why their family needed support, just the type of support that was needed and accessed. To the Group What did you learn from this reflection about your own personal experience during a time when you needed concrete support? Note to Facilitator - Purpose of this discussion This discussion should take the participants out of their role as service providers. It’s an opportunity to go inside and reflect on their own experiences. It also helps them step into the shoes of the parents they work with. In the framework of family support, all families need support at one time in their lives or another. This discussion will help participants have a better understanding and appreciation for what their parents and children experience when they are faced with challenges, stressors and/or difficult times. Questions to guide the discussion Was it difficult to think about a time when your family needed support? Was it difficult to share this with someone else? How did you feel? Facilitator Relate this discussion to how a family must feel when they’re in need of support and how it can be difficult for them to share what’s going on, especially if there isn’t a previously established relationship with staff.

24 Basic Needs Response to a Crisis
Facilitator to the Group: The need for food, shelter and clothing is crucial for a healthy family and must to be attended to. (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.) It is sometimes easy to address food, shelter and clothing, but dealing with other needs gets more difficult. Note to Facilitator Optional Large Group Discussion (If full day training or time permits.) How does a lack of concrete support impact parenting? What is the risk? What are some of the services families in your center need? Background for Facilitator The purpose of this discussion is to have an understanding of what staff may be experiencing with their families. Food, shelter and clothing are areas that families are often reported to child protection agencies for. Think of examples to share with the group related to these areas. Examples may include: Children inappropriately dressed for the weather, children that horde food or appear hungry, etc. FOOD SHELTER CLOTHING

25 Where to go for help? Access Services for: Assistance with:
Employment / job opportunities Housing Education Health care Transportation Respite / child care / babysitting Legal issues / financial supports Access Services for: Help with personal / family issues: Depression Alcohol Substance abuse Domestic violence Mental health Facilitator – To the group Programs don’t need to provide all of these services themselves—much can be done through collaboration, and inviting community partners into the program to provide information about services. Program strategies related to providing concrete support in times of need are responding to family crises, linking families to services and opportunities and valuing and supporting parents. Optional group discussion activity (If time permits or full day training) How many of your programs provide these supports directly from your center? What type of support is provided? How many of you have formal linkage agreements with other community-based agencies that provide these concrete supports to families at your centers? Who are your community partners that you have formal linkage agreements with? Example from an Exemplary Program Leelanau Children’s Center in Michigan leads a collaborative effort of 277 organizations that support families. They coordinate services to address the needs of parent/families. Based on this collaborative relationship with a variety of agencies, early care and education staff are confident in the referrals that they make. BREAK – 15 MINUTES

26 Protective Factors Parental Resilience Social Connections
Social and Emotional Competence of Children Concrete supports in times of need Knowledge of Parenting & Child Development Parental Resilience Social Connections Parent-Child Relationship Facilitator The final Protective Factor is specifically related to the child “Social and Emotional Competence of Children.” Large Group Discussion: Ask the group what is the meaning of social and emotional competence in children. Optional – co-facilitator may record responses on a flip chart.

27 Foster Social and Emotional Competence of Children
Quality primary relationships Friendship skills, peer relationships Emotional recognition, recognize and express feelings Problem-solving skills Social and anger coping How to play with other children How to exercise self-control and negotiate conflicts Sharing, cooperation, and taking turns Facilitator: Review the areas of Social Emotional Competence of Children. Note to Facilitator: See page 21 in Strengthening Families Guidebook which focuses on the adult-child relationship.

28 What are your thoughts? How do you know a child is on track socially
and emotionally? What are some signs that the child is not on track? How is this Protective Factor related to Child Abuse and Neglect? Facilitator background: The focus is on skills and abilities the child has or learns as it relates to their social emotional competence. The cornerstone of many early childhood programs is helping children develop socially and emotionally. Social emotional development of the child also has an impact on the way parents and children interact. An example: As children learn to verbalize their emotions rather than act them out, they are more able to tell parents how they feel, what they need, and how parental actions make them feel. Parents can then be more responsive to their children's needs - and less likely to yell or hit. Exemplary Programs Most of the exemplary programs studied use Second Step and /or I Can Problem Solve to help children articulate their feelings and get along well with others. Parking Lot Discussing children’s social and emotional development may cause a great deal of discussion. If you haven’t already introduced the concept of the “Parking Lot,” now would be a good time to do this.

29 Protective Factors Parental Resilience Social Connections
Social and Emotional Competence of Children Concrete supports in times of need Knowledge of Parenting & Child Development Parental Resilience Social Connections Parent-Child Relationship Facilitator The sixth Protective Factor is Parent-Child Relationship.

30 Enhance Parent-Child Relationships
Note to Facilitator It is critical for the facilitator to have an understanding of attachment theory and the parent-child relationship. The facilitator should research additional readings that will provide a more comprehensive explanation and understanding of this topic. In order for staff to have a thorough understanding of the impact that parent-child relationships has on the healthy development of the child, much more time needs to be devoted to this topic. Due to the time constraints of this training, participants will not have an adequate amount of time during the training to explore this topic. Refer the training participants to outside readings or a training on attachment. However, it is important that early childhood professionals have a basic understanding that all parents and children have relationships unique to them as individuals. This understanding sets the platform for early childhood professionals to recognize, acknowledge and support positive parent-child relationships. It is also important that early childhood professionals have an introduction to parents and children that have problematic relationships. Background information Depending on whose research is read, the terminology used to describe attachment theory varies. For this training we will use the following terminology: securely attached and insecurely attached For additional background information and research on attachment: John Bowlby (1988) Mary Ainsworth’s Strange Situation ( ) Facilitator to the Group Every parent and their child has a relationship of one kind or another. When we discussed the protective factor fostering the social and emotional competence of children we talked about the quality of the primary caregiver’s relationship as having the greatest impact on the child’s healthy social and emotional development. Social and emotional competence is the child’s ability to navigate the world around them. This is learned from the primary caregiver(s) in a child’s life: mother, father, grandparents, early child care teachers, etc. From birth children form a bond or an attachment with their primary caregiver. The child’s sense of understanding the world around them can be altered by the primary relationship. It is the quality of the parent-child relationship that is most significant. All children have an attachment to their parents.

31 Enhance Parent-Child Relationships
Parent-child relationships that are warm, nurturing, responsive are related to positive outcomes. Facilitator to the Group The parent-child relationship has a significant and lasting impact on the healthy development of the child. Parent-child relationships that are warm, nurturing, and responsive prove to have the best positive outcomes for the healthy development of the child.

32 Enhance Parent-Child Relationships
Positive parent-child relationships…  Being “in-tune” with each other The parents ability to read verbal and non-verbal cues of the child The child’s ability to read the cues of the parent  Parents having the knowledge, skills and ability to respond to the needs of the child appropriately consistently Facilitator to the Group Attunement, or being “in-tune” with one’s child requires the ability of the parent to have the knowledge and skills to read their child’s verbal and non-verbal cues. It is the parent’s ability to respond to the child’s wants and needs based on the child’s behavior, both the verbal and non-verbal communication. It is the parent’s ability to meet the needs of the child and be able to provide for the child appropriately and in a consistent manner. Likewise, children develop a sense and ability to read their parents cues. Both the parent and the child contribute to the parent-child relationship. The healthy parent-child relationship develops when the parent is “in-tune” with their child and the child is in tune with the parent. This is often called “attunement” and described or referred to as “the dance” . Securely attached All day, every day the parent and their child are in engaged in hundreds of interactions where there is a give and take of information passed back and forth. The child expresses a need, the parent appropriately meets the child’s need, the child expresses a need, the parent appropriately meets the need.... This give and take exchange occurs hundreds of times throughout the course of a day, creating a pattern for interactions. The child begins to develop a sense of security when their needs are met appropriately and consistently by the parent, the primary caregiver. When both parent and child interact and respond appropriately to each other this is described as the child being securely attached. This consistent, appropriate response from the parent teachers the child when and how their needs will be met. Being securely attached provides children with a sense of trust, safety and security. The parent-child relationship is strengthened each time the pattern is repeated. For example: When a toddler cries because they have fallen down and hurt themselves, what we expect to see is a parent respond with loving hugs, kisses and words of comfort. When the parent responds in this manner the child learns that their parent is attentive and there to comfort them in times of distress. Insecurely attached Example In the example of the child falling down and crying, when there is a poor parent-child relationship the parent may be unresponsive, insensitive or respond to their child with scolding. The child learns that falling and crying draws negative attention or no attention from the parent or primary caregiver. This situation repeated again and again, over time, will also build into the child’s understanding of the world. That when they fall and cry there may be no response or it may draw a harsh response from the parent. In this example children learn that the parent is unavailable to comfort them and protect them from the world. Problematic parent-child relationships When parents don’t respond appropriately or consistently to meet their child’s needs attachments can be problematic. The child’s view of the world around them is uncertain. The child is still attached to the primary caregiver however, the attachment to the parent may be limited, disrupted or arrested. Problematic parent-child relationships may be exhibited as negative parent-child interactions and the child may: be at-risk for developmental problems have difficulty regulating their emotions experience a delay in speech and language development be prohibited from productively exploring their world These children may also be more likely to develop emotional problems found among older children; such as depression, anxiety, behavioral disorders, and later on substance abuse The early childhood setting provides an opportunity to observe, model, support and intervene when the parent-child relationship appears to be strained. Background information What influences attachment? The child’s temperament Hard to soothe difficult to read irritable, and sensitive to over-stimulation The child’s temperament may be frustrating to parent and contribute to poor parent-child relationships. The parent’s temperament their personality, and well-being (mental health)

33 Enhance Parent-Child Relationships
 What are some behaviors you have observed when a parent-child relationship appears difficult?  What can early childhood professionals do to enhance parent-child relationships? Large Group discussion Ask the group the following question What are the behaviors you have observed when a parent-child relationship appears to be difficult? Facilitator Strengthening Families Illinois seeks to enhance positive parent-child relationships by helping families understand the importance of a healthy parent-child relationship. Staff must also be supported as they help parents recognize the positive parent-child interactions that happen on a daily basis. Certain developmental stages create stressful times for parents. Oftentimes, an understanding of the developmental growth of the child allows parents to have the knowledge and skills to support the child’s growth and development within the context of the relationship. What can Early care and education centers do to enhance healthy parent-child relationships? Early childhood professionals should recognize relationships that seems problematic. Staff can have a great impact on the parent child relationship by offering support and suggestions to parents to enhance the relationship. Here are some examples of how early childhood professionals can help. Partner with parents and acknowledge that parenting can be overwhelming. Provide information to parents about age appropriate expectations for children. Intentionally host events where parent-child activities are part of the event. This could be parent and child play groups, etc. Provide information to parents on the importance of playing, singing and reading to their children as a way to strengthen the parent-child relationship. Early childhood programs can partner with parents to help them build positive relationships with their children.

34 Enhance Parent-Child Relationships
Strengthening Families Illinois seeks to support parents to be “good enough” parents. Facilitator to the Group There are no perfect parents, however most parents have an unrealistic expectation that they must be perfect. Strengthening Families Illinois seeks to support parents in being “good enough” parents in the eyes of their children.


36 Facilitator to the Group - The Strengthening Families self-assessment guides programs in looking at their center and how well they are doing. It is a guide to creating an action plan for early child care centers to build upon their strengths.

37 Action Plan based on Program Self-Assessment
Program Strategy: Facilitate Friendships and Mutual Support Self Assessment Item Concern Proposed Actions Timeline 1. A comfortable space is available for families to meet informally. The space we have available for parents is in the lobby and while they can meet there informally and it’s relatively large, it is not a good place for any serious activity or meeting because there is no privacy. It is also not used very often. Talk to parents about the idea of having a space for them to meet and what they’d like to do there Form a committee of parents and staff to work on the issue Come up with a recommendation Create implementation plan for space and usage New or redesigned parent space January 2006 March 2006 April 2006 Summer 2006 Facilitator The Action Plan is your center’s guide to assist you in achieving your identified goals. Some of you may have completed your program self assessment and are developing action plans. Some centers may have chosen to work on more than one strategy at a time. For some of you, this may be your first time hearing about an assessment tool that assists centers in looking at the strategies that are in place at your centers, and strategies that need to be strengthened. As we come to the close of this training it is important to continue the momentum that has already taken place at your centers to be a part of the Strengthening Families Illinois pilot project. As a reminder, let’s look at some resources available to you once you go back to your center.

38 Scenarios / Case Studies
group work To the Facilitator – There are 5 possible scenarios to use. Divide the group into small groups of 4 or 5 participants. Optional – Use cards or symbols to divide group participants. Small Group Activity - Distribute one scenario to each group. Instruct the group to use the Scenario Worksheet to record their answers/thoughts. Have each participant write their own answers and then convene as a group to share ideas about the family situation and how it relates to the protective factors. Each group will be given 5 minutes to present their assessment of the scenario to the group. Guide the discussion so that participants understand the protective factors that need to be in place to assist the families in the scenarios. Note to Facilitator – Watch your time because this activity comes towards the end of the training day and can get rushed if not timed appropriately. During a full day training participants can be given more time to work on the scenarios.

39 Scenario Worksheet List the strengths of this family.
What Protective Factors are related to this scenario? What strategies does your center have in place to support this family? What strategies do you need to put in place to support this family?

40 Facilitator: Each group will have 5 minutes to present their responses to the full group.
Group Presentations

41 What did you learn? group feedback Facilitator – To the Group
What did you learn from this activity?

42 Resources Available to You!
Learning Networks - Peer support Guidebook - Protecting Children by Strengthening Families TA from Strengthening Families Illinois Facilitator to the Group: These are resources available to assist and support your center with development and implementation of your action plan.

43 final reflections group closer feedback
Ask participants to form a circle. The facilitator will use a ball of yarn to start the “ball” rolling with comments and feedback about this training experience. Facilitator to the Group – What was a key learning for you or what will you do differently as a result of participating in today’s training? The facilitator will throw the ball to a person across from them and ask them to share their thoughts. Instruct participants to hold onto the yard before tossing. Participant will throw the ball to another person and so on until all participants have a chance to share. The last person will throw the ball back to the facilitator. To the Group A web has been created which represents building a network or web. This is your “ learning network”. A learning network facilitates learning across early care centers and assists programs with building upon strategies in their centers to support and strengthen families. Thank the group for participating in the training.

44 Evaluations

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