REACH Out to Children

Debra Milner, Founder and CEO

Who doesn’t need a good cry sometimes? If a person cries, it is an expression of:

  • pain
  • fear
  • anger
  • sadness

Same with children. It may be even more important for young children who have not developed many verbal skills yet.

What to do? At KidsPark, the first question is always – Are you hurt? Once we are assured a child is physically fine, then we can probe. We REACH out to the children.

  1. Recognize the feeling.  Are you feeling _______? Fill-in: sad, scared, mad
  2. Empathize and acknowledge their feeling.  I can understand how you would feel ______.
  3. Assure them it will be OK.  Mom will be right back.
  4. Comfort them. Can I give you a hug?  Want to build a tower? Want to color?
  5. Help redirect their attention.  Let’s join the circle time. I want you to meet one of my friends _____.

Before you know it, tears are a thing of the past.

There are times when a child does not want to be comforted. That’s when you see our sign “No Hugs Wanted”. We have tried to comfort the child but they get more hysterical. These children need some time to settle down before they can be approached. At home, this is a good time for a child to rest in their room or be asked to quietly sit. Many child psychologists recommend not giving children electronics to divert their attention – they need to develop diversion skills on their own. Once they have self-soothed, we address their needs.

Parents, let’s not overlook the happiness cry – the best cry of all! We all experience the slow, eye misting to swelling tears rolling down our cheeks. The sheer happiness of remembering or sharing something special. I hope we all have many, many happy cries.