“You are picking up your child! GET OFF YOUR PHONE!!!!”
This was the message in a hand-lettered sign that a Hockley, Texas day care facility recently posted in a plea to parents to put their toddlers first at pick-up time. The sign, posted by a mother of one of the children at the day care center, made the rounds of the internet, generating responses ranging from positive thank you’s to resentment of what was seen as the note’s rudeness to parents. http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/texas-daycares-note-scolds-parents-off-phone/story?id=45201988
PIA’s mission says that communication, parent to parent and parent to child, is of utmost importance, and our tagline reminds us to be “connected.” For a small child, reunion with a parent after a few hours’ separation is a big deal. Parent to child communication, if we want it to last into adolescence, is strongest when established early. A parent who is ready to greet the child with open arms, open heart, and undistracted eye contact, is going to be ahead in the effort to nurture long-lasting, effective communication and connection. The phone won’t change, but the child will. Put the phone away and you’ll find it later, exactly as you left it. Put the child off, and you’ve lost one of the fleeting moments that come once and once only.
Be present for the small child who’s eager to see you and tell you what happened in pre-school or day care. Soon enough, that child will be an adolescent who is protective of thoughts and information, and may no longer want to share them. If you want an “in” later, when parents may be shut out, then build toward that while you’re still the center of your child’s small world.
PIA Website Editor