Communicating Effectively When difficult issues or conflicts arise, it can be challenging to communicate effectively and reach an outcome that honors each person’s perspective. Professionals who work with infants, toddlers, and their families can benefit from practicing dialogue skills to become more confident and receptive when challenging issues emerge. As you read the following scenario, think about each individual’s perspective and reflect on the information you have read about communication this week. Danna is 11 months old and has been coming to this childcare center since she was 4 months old. She has adapted well to the program from the beginning, and enjoys all times of day, including naptime. One morning, Danna arrives at the center carrying a well-loved blanket bunny (a small blanket that has the head of a bunny attached to it). This is the first time Danna has brought the blanket with her to the center, though it looks like she has carried it around quite a bit at home. Maria, Danna’s mother, wants to talk with Danna’s primary caregiver, Joelle, about the blanket but several families have arrived at the same time and Joelle is very busy. Maria knows that many children need comfort objects and thinks that Danna may need some extra nurturing today because she has been spending more of her time at home caring for an elderly family member and has not been able to spend as much time with Danna. It is difficult to leave, but she cannot stay any longer. Joelle notices that Danna’s movements around the center seem more unsteady with the blanket in tow, and also that the blanket is getting dirty. As Danna pulls to a stand, she holds the blanket bunny between her teeth, sucking on a place where it is very dirty. This concerns Joelle and so a few times throughout the day, Joelle suggests to Danna that she leave her blanket but Danna becomes upset. Concerned that this is a health and safety issue and aware that she has never seen this blanket before, she decides to talk with Maria about the blanket bunny when she arrives to pick up Danna. As Maria heads to the center to pick up Danna, she is hoping to learn how her daughter’s day went. She wonders if Danna needed extra nurturing, and if the blanket helped. With this scenario in mind, review the information in Diversity in Early Care and Education on the five outcomes to cultural conflicts (pp. 54–56) and the RERUN communication process (pp. 58–60). Also, review the information presented in the article “Hearing Parents in Every Language” (Bruno, 2003). By Day 3: Post a sample dialogue (with at least eight lines of dialogue per person) demonstrating how Joelle and Maria could communicate effectively about this situation and work toward fostering mutual education (one of the five outcomes to conflicts) and achieving a positive resolution to this situation. Your response should demonstrate an understanding of the key ideas presented in the readings and conclude with next steps for continued relationship-building and communication.
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