The Power of Noticing

By now you should have completed an entire unit of your Kindermusik curriculum. You and your little one are settling into class and becoming familiar with our studio routines and your teacher’s classroom rituals.

Hopefully your child is also becoming confident and comfortable enough in class to let their personality shine. It’s so rewarding for the educators when your child feels safe enough in class to look them in the eye or start to sing along. We hope you get to witness those magical moments as well!

Our educators are masters at noticing. It’s a tool they use pedagogically as they gauge how a class is flowing and if any modifications are needed. Your educator meets your child where they are, pays attention to their nonverbal cues, and respects those boundaries. She may adjust the way she approaches your child or sets up an activity or encourages participation, all because her skill of noticing informs her teaching. It’s a form of continuous and live assessment and adjustment. It’s a crucial skill that all educators of all levels employ, regardless of the age of those they are teaching.

Noticing is also a crucial skill in parenting and caregiving. It’s a requirement for building connection with your child. How can you connect with your child if you don’t notice who they are and how they feel? Noticing allows the caregiver to understand the child’s behavior and needs. It can inform the way you interact with your child throughout the day and adjust to meet their needs as those needs change in different circumstances and stages of development.

Noticing can also be an active way of communicating with your child. Your child is seeking connection and validation from you every day. Some of the ways you can let your child know that you are noticing them is through your language. When they accomplish something be specific in your response, beyond saying “good job”.

“Good job” implies a judgment on their behavior and indicates that their goal should be to please you. Instead try some of these “noticing” phrases:

  • “You did it!” (One of our favorites.)
  • “That was hard, wasn’t it?”
  • “I see you playing!”
  • “Tell me about that.”
  • “Thank you.”
  • “You are really trying hard!”
  • “You helped!”

Notice your child. Let them know you notice them. It will build love and connection between the two of you and lay a foundation for a positive relationship. As they grow and develop and age you will draw on that deposit you’ve invested in their heart and memory. Knowing you are there and witness their efforts will give them the confidence and courage to keep growing and trying.

The Power of Attention

What you pay attention to you get more of.

We learn this from Conscious Discipline and behavioral studies. Positive attention to positive behaviors will give you more of those positive behaviors. Negative attention to negative behaviors will give you more of those negative behaviors.

This principle is taught more eloquently by the great American poet, Mary Oliver.

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”

Simply put, and so stunningly true. Our job in this life is to pay attention. And our job as caregivers of little people is to pay attention to them! When they feel noticed, they feel seen. They feel validated. They feel appreciated. That sets the best stage for them to learn and grow.

More words of wisdom from Oliver:

“Attention is the beginning of devotion.”

Ah, aren’t we devoted to our little ones?

When that child is first brought into our lives we notice every little fingernail and dimple. The beginning of devotion indeed. And they can feel it. When we notice, they feel loved. They feel secure. They feel safe.

Final words of wisdom from Ms Oliver:

“I simply do not distinguish between work and play.”

Pretty wise words coming from a grownup. Play IS a child’s work. And when we let them freely explore they will do their best work, and learn what they need in the most developmentally appropriate way.

One of the silver linings of these strange times is the opportunity for us to pay attention. We have a unique chance to slow down and really notice our children for who they are, rather than rushing them to the next enrichment activity. As we notice them in their play, that IS their work. Their work of growing, learning, developing, and becoming.

And aren’t we honored to be able to witness it?