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The Being Stage
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BEING (Visited the first time round between 0-6mths)

Babies need to establish contact with the big people around them – to begin to form attachments with key carers. As they make their needs known – mainly through crying! – carers respond and affirm the baby through their actions. Cuddles, feeding, putting down to sleep all help to communicate messages such as You belong here’ and ‘We’re here to take care of your needs’. These then help lay the foundations for secure attachments.

In the relatively rare instances when these affirmations aren’t particularly forthcoming, the messages ‘Don’t trust’ and ‘Don’t be’ might be internalised.

Older children/young people engaging in attention-needing behaviours such as continued calling-out and/or other inappropriate behaviours that lead to negative attention, may well benefit from revisiting the Being stage and ‘hearing’ some of the associated affirmations.

Moving school triggers the need to establish a sense of belonging and find out who they can trust. Thinking about some of the Being stage tasks and the associated affirmations can support them to settle in.
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Developmental Task Affirmations for the Being Stage Helpful adult/carer behaviours Helpful adult/carer behaviours
  • To call for care
  • To accept nurture
  • To learn to get needs met
  • To bond emotionally; trust caring adults and self
  • To accept touch
  • To decide to live; to be
  • What you need is important to us
  • We want you to be here and want to care for you
  • We’re glad you’re here
  • You belong here
  • You can feel all of your feelings
  • We are glad you are you
  • You can grow at your own pace
  • Affirm child in doing the developmental tasks for this stage
  • Provide consistent care as needed
  • Think for child when required, while monitoring development through the stage
  • Use touch, holding, talking, singing – and intuition to decide how and when
  • Be reliable and trustworthy
  • Get help when unsure how to respond to child
  • Attention-needing behaviours eg calling out
  • On the ‘outside’ of class/groups
Need help understanding the table above
The developmental tasks are the jobs the child/young person needs to begin to get under their belt in order to optimise their growth. This is facilitated by the adults around him/her providing permissions via the affirmations. These tend to be communicated primarily non-verbally, examples of which are given in the ‘Helpful adult/carer behaviours’ column.

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