The vital role that school staff play in contributing to children’s emotional well being cannot be underestimated and can be utilised more to ensure it is maximised to its full capacity. Every adult who works in a school has a responsibility to support children’s emotional health and well being and contribute to ensuring they feel good about themselves on a daily basis. The quality of the relationship between adults and children is crucial and every interaction can have a positive and meaningful outcome. Everything you say and do can affect children in either a positive or negative way and can either enhance or erode their self-esteem and sense of self.
We need to consider carefully what we say and how we say it, as this can have a big impact on a child. Our facial expression, body language and tone of voice all have meaning and will be interpreted by the child who is on the receiving end. This is of vital importance for children who are tuned in to adults every move. They can be vigilant at trying to translate every movement and gesture, as well as the actual words that are spoken. When children have had negative experiences of how adults perceive them, they are especially competent at looking for evidence to validate this negative view of themselves. Mannerisms such as an adult waving their arms around, even in excitement can cause anxiety and increase stress levels for children who live with unpredictability. The use of a gentle tone can go a long way in establishing a safe relationship for a child who is anxious and scared.
So consider what you can do to make a difference at your school today.