From Deb Alleyne, M.S. | Early Childhood/Child Welfare Specialist & National Trainer
One of the many things that stood out to us in our extensive review of the literature related to what young children who have experienced significant risk need from their parents and care-givers is the importance of consistency. Here at DCRC, we talk about consistency in parenting as doing some important things with our children the same way every day. Consistency helps children establish a sense of trust and security, allowing them to explore and learn from the world in healthy ways.
We all know that being consistent can be much easier said than done!
I recently had the opportunity to talk with a small group of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren – our discussion topic was consistency. What does it mean? Why is it important? What do children learn when their care-givers are consistent? What are our own experiences related to consistency?
One thing I learned from this experience was that while it is important to teach parents about consistency, it may be equally important to allow time for parents to discuss with other parents what it means to them, and learn from each other some simple ways they can build more consistency into their own lives and the lives of their children. Giving these grandparents the opportunity to talk about their own experiences with consistency for themselves really opened their eyes to its importance!
DCRC’s Your Journey Together parenting curriculum offers numerous simple everyday strategies that parents can use to provide consistency for their young children. A few examples include:
- providing some predictable routines,
- planning for changes in routines,
- creating special ways to say hello and good-bye,
- do what I say I am going to do,
- practice keeping promises,
- talk about feelings and limits,
- establish a few safe and consistent boundaries…and much more!
Today, as you move forward with your own day, be aware of how consistency is present (or not), and important for you!