Children have different needs. Some children like to be affectionate and show it through hugs and kisses, whilst others are not so tactile.
There is a difficulty for those working in Early Years settings, regarding how to express the affectionate and caring behaviours which the role characteristically demands of us, acting as we do in-loco-parentis, and which very young children need for healthy emotional growth. At The Treasure Box I am happy to provide affection, cuddles and hugs, and kisses on the head or cheek, providing that parent and child are comfortable with this. I will never force affection if a child or parent was uncomfortable with this. There is a legal obligation under the Statutory Early Years Foundation Stage, for practitioners to provide all children with ‘professional love’, as it is well documented that children flourish and thrive with this.
Similarly, children often love to receive a “baby massage”. Massage can help children to calm their busy bodies and minds, and help to settle them to sleep. I always ask children if they would like a massage, before commencing.
At The Treasure Box, I do not physically restrain children unless they are at serious risk of inflicting injury on themselves or others, although I will take precautionary measures to prevent a situation from reaching this stage whenever possible. For example, I will separate fighting children, or restrain a child who tries to run into the road. If I do need to physically restrain a child, I will document the incident on the Baby’s Days system, and ask the parent to sign the record, in order to protect all parties.
I do not give physical punishments to the children in my care.
I may need to have physical contact with a child to ensure hygiene and personal care routines are carried out. I am happy to assist with nappy changing and toileting, according to age, stage and ability.
Reviewed by Louise Lawson Feb 2023