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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Magazine Issue 52
11 REFLECTIONS • GOWRIE AUSTRALIA • SPRING 2013 - ISSUE 52 Parents have often looked to their child's educators for tips and advice on parenting and have used them as a sounding board for concerns around child development and behaviour, but a postnatal mood disorder may make this supportive relationship difficult to establish. Depression may affect a parent's motivation, organisation, memory, concentration and decision making. This may make getting to child care on time, with all the necessary luggage on the right day, just too hard. Organising a costume for book week may be out of the question. Low mood, exhaustion or withdrawal from social contact, are also symptoms that impact on the ability of a parent to engage with caregivers. What may appear to be disinterest or a need for perfection, may in fact be symptoms of a depressed or anxious parent. Educators can support a parent's role and foster a positive relationship between parents and their children by including parents in decision making, and reinforcing the fact that as a parent, they know their baby or toddler better than anyone else. Supporting home routines where possible helps promote secure attachment in the centre, but also reassures the parent of their ability to care for their infant. Role modelling age appropriate play and soothing techniques will give a parent something to try when they are at home, and smooth the transition between home and care. Asking the parent about their child's routine, temperament and preferences may be a routine conversation that helps an educator provide appropriate care, but it also helps to develop a relationship with the parent based on trust and mutual respect. This is particularly important when a parent's self-esteem and self confidence is lacking. By developing an increased appreciation of the effects of perinatal mental health issues and the consequences that these illnesses have on both parent and child, educators will be able to provide a service that not only provides a secure base for the child, but also fosters relationships between parents and their children. Being able to provide information on local resources that can assist with perinatal mental health issues is important. The local child health nurse or perinatal mental health team will be able to provide support and appropriate referrals to families experiencing depression or anxiety. References: Giles,l., Davies,M., Whitrow,M., Warin, M. Moore,V. (2011). 'Maternal depressive symptoms and child care during toddlerhood relate to child behaviour at age 5 years', Pediatrics. 10.1542/peds. 2010-3119. Gowrie Adelaide. (2005) Secure attachments -- the foundation of relationships in childcare Programs. DVD. Gowrie Adelaide Productions. Johnston,K., Brinamen,C. (2005) 'Integrating and adapting infant mental health principles in the training of consultants to childcare', Infants and Young Children, 18(4), 269-281. Lee,L., Halpern,C., Hertz-Picciotto,I., Martin, S., Suchindran,C. (2006) 'Child care and social support modify the association between maternal depressive symptoms and early childhood behaviour problems: a US national study', Journal Epidemial Community Health, 60, 305-310.
Reflections Magazine Issue 51
Reflections Magazine Issue 53 Summer 2013