‘Sometimes the greatest gift you can give another person is to include them’
I love this quote. It is so powerful, and resonates with us all. To feel wanted, needed, important and appreciated are basic human needs and even more so when we only 5 years old!
I consider it a gift and a blessing to work with young children and see it as an opportunity to have a tiny chance to influence their development positively. A warm and nurturing environment and kind and encouraging words can go a long distance in the world of a young person.
When I talk with parents about their child’s hobbies and afterschool activities I always ask one question – do they feel included? Does their time there make them a happy version of themselves or does it dull their shine a little? Take note of this the next time you collect your child and ask them how they are feeling.
It is vital that every child, regardless of their skill or ability, is given equal time and attention and is made to understand that the only person they need to do better than is the person they were yesterday! I hear so many stories about kids sitting on the bench, or kids never picked for the team and these stories often come from adults who have never forgotten how being left out felt!
As adults we have two jobs here. The first is to make sure we are creating inclusive environments and the second is to make sure we are raising inclusive children. We need to teach kids that we all have different strengths and weaknesses and to embrace them all.
Teach children to be kind to the children around them, to make an effort to include and encourage them and then let us focus on setting the same example ourselves.
Let us focus on creating a world where everyone feels safe to be themselves.