Effective guidance is critical to an enjoyable and productive school-age childcare environment. Managing the pent-up energy that hits the door at the end of the day, along with the wide variety of ages, can sometime seem overwhelming. Children often bring with them the disappointments and unresolved conflicts of the day which requires a skillful adult to effectively navigate the emotional world of school-agers.
Effective guidance begins with relationships. The power to influence children’s behavior is directly proportional to the strength of the relationship (Neufeld & Mate 2006). Adults should strive to develop a genuine emotional connection with every child in the program. This requires an enormous amount of effort and patience as relationships are not formed over night. One of the most common complaints of both children and teenagers is the belief that grown ups don’t understand them.