Yiou is a six-year-old girl in my Little Sisters Preschool classroom who has made remarkable progress since I first met her.
When she first arrived, Yiou had a bad habit… she always scratched her classmates. At home in her Family Village foster family, she did the same thing. She would constantly scratch her siblings and even her foster mother every time she tried to hug or kiss her.
So I sat down with Yiou and explained why hurting others was not all right.
I could tell that Yiou understood because her little eyes filled with tears. But I could also tell that Yiou didn’t know any better. She did not know how to properly express herself, especially when she felt insecure.
I started working with Yiou. I noticed that she did not know how to approach other children. She used scratching as her first method of communication with others, to try to express that she wanted to play with a toy, join a game, or simply say hi.
“Wouldn’t it be better if you gave your friend a hug?” I suggested.
To help her feel the warmth of a hug, I hugged her often. I also practiced common daily exchanges with her often, like shaking hands, or saying hello.
Gradually, I started to notice a change.
When I hugged her, Yiou relaxed and smiled. And at home, her foster mom told me that Yiou was now being very helpful with her siblings. She helped her foster brother put on his shoes and best yet, she had stopped scratching them.
In the classroom, I noticed that Yiou was learning how to interact with others. She also became my little helper.
Once, when she saw a little boy fall down, she called out to me by saying: “ah, ah” to get my attention, so I could come help the child. And she likes to stay by my side to help me, either by picking up toys, helping smaller children to their seats, or turning on the lights.
She is a little angel, and I find it magical to see that deep down, all children have this potential. We simply need to help them reach it!