Behavior & Environment

Changing Inactive Patterns to Grow as a Caregiver

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Even when we understand child development in-depth, we often find ourselves falling back into old patterns that are at odds with what we know. Our reactions reflect how we were brought up rather than how we want to be as caregivers. How do we change that?

1.  Work Through Your Childhood
This isn’t as odd as the movies make it seem. You don’t have to go back to your potty training days, however, you do need to look at the parenting style your parents used, how it made you feel, and how it shaped your thinking and emotional responses. Once you understand why you think, feel, and behave in a certain way, you’ll be able to change the pattern. For some, this is a fairly easy process. For others, it’s much more complicated. Everyone can benefit from taking a deeper look at their past.

2.  Replace Old Patterns with New Ones
As much as you try, you can’t simply get rid of old, ineffective patterns. You need to replace them with new, effective ones. This is where your understanding of child development is key. When you identify what isn’t working, you can use your professional know-how to develop a plan of action that is developmentally appropriate. You can learn the real-world skills you need to put that plan into action rather than fall back on your old patterns. Over time and with practice, a new habit is formed that reflects the caregiver you want to be.

Caregiving is both a personal and professional journey. Staying intentional around the type of caregiver you want to be helps you step into that role more easily.