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  • 25 Jun 2021 by Christine Hughes

    We are a community who comes together as one in times of tragedy.

    Today we hold our fellow community, our fellow families, those in particular, who are suffering the devastation and aftermath of the collapse of the Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida.

    Below we have included helpful guidance on how to talk with children when scary or sad things happen, as well as a way to donate to those affected by this tragedy.

    How Do We Talk to Children When Scary Things Happen?

    An article from University of Colorado Boulder, published March 2021

    When scary or sad things happen in the world, whether thousands of miles away, in your state, your town, your backyard or your home, kids look to the adults that surround them to help them feel safe and understand what is happening. This can feel tricky and challenging, particularly when the adults themselves are also responding to and making sense of the same experience. 

    The Center for Resilience & Well-Being in Schools at The University of Colorado Boulder, has resources to offer guidance for parents, guardians, teachers or anyone else who is regularly with children. The following is an adapted version of a resource on how to talk with children and youth when scary things happen. Full resources are available at this link

    Here are several helpful tips:

    1. Check in with yourself first

    Before talking with a youth, check in with yourself (How am I feeling? What do I need?) so that you are calm and grounded during the conversation. Just as youth have feelings about these experiences, so do adults. Checking in with yourself first will also help you to be ready to address any questions youth might have. It’s OK not to have all the answers. Your warm, open presence is the most important thing. 

    2. Clarify your goal

    As you approach the conversation, it can be helpful to start with a goal in mind. An overall goal is to create a safe space for youth to share their feelings, questions, reactions and experiences about the scary/sad thing and to feel your support. You might ask yourself, “How might I help my child feel safe?” “Is there some important information for them to know? Is there any misinformation to correct? What might my child already know or think about the situation?” 

    Keep coming back to messages of safety, support and willingness to keep talking. 

    3. Provide information

    Share simple facts and information about what happened and balance it with information about how adults and/or community systems may have stepped forward to help and create safety. Match the type and amount of information to the developmental level of the child. Ask open-ended questions about what they may have already heard and correct any misinformation. Keep this part of the discussion brief, simple and clear. Multiple short conversations can often be more powerful than a single long conversation. 

    4. Ask helpful questions

    Ask helpful questions to learn more about the young person’s thoughts, feelings, perspective and needs. The goal is to gain an understanding of the young person’s experience and not one of “fact finding,” or learning about specific details of a situation. The questions we ask should be open-ended and focused on their experience, emotion and perspective. (“What was that like for you?,” “How are you feeling?,” “What are you thinking/wondering about?,” Do you have any questions or worries?”)

    5. Validate feelings

    Normalize and validate their feelings. It’s okay to feel scared, sad or mad. This doesn’t mean that you’re normalizing the bad thing that happened, but instead you’re affirming that whatever they are feeling is normal and OK. You might say, “That makes sense,” “I understand,” “Other people feel that way, too,” and “You are not alone.” 

    6. Reduce media exposure

    Be aware of how much you are checking the media when you are with youth, and be aware of how much they are tracking the event in the media to monitor and reduce negative impacts. While it is part of our culture to be consistently connected to news and social media, if youth see that you are checking your phone or the television constantly, they may be more likely to do the same.

    Read more: Talking to Children When Scary and Sad Things Happen

    More coping resources from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network

    Please share with your colleagues, friends and family--anyone in your life who might be struggling to know what to say to their children during this time; anyone who wants to know how they can help the survivors.

  • 23 Jun 2021 by Christine Hughes

    From our Partners, the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health:

    To simplify the Endorsement process for all professionals trained by Child First, the Alliance and Child First have partnered to develop a co-branded crosswalk across Child First training and the Competency Guidelines for Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health and Early Childhood Mental Health®. 

    Child First has affiliates in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, and North Carolina (all of which are Alliance states!).  Endorsement Applicants in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, & North Carolina* can use the Crosswalk NOW!

    Enhancing the infant and early childhood workforce is critical.  The Alliance and Child First Endorsement Crosswalk is one way to support the advancement of professionals in our field by making the process of achieving this credential more accessible.  It is essential that the cross-sector infant, young child and family workforce is IECMH-informed, and the Endorsement process is one way to support this endeavor.  The Alliance is proud to partner with Child First on this initiative to reduce possible barriers to the Endorsement process for staff at Child First affiliate sites.

    Download the crosswalk.

  • 07 Jun 2021 by Christine Hughes

    RIOS™ 1: Using the RIOS™ Framework for Reflective Supervision


    Reflective supervision/consultation (RSC) is a form of ongoing professional development that supports infant and early childhood practitioners in their work and guides them in providing services focused on children’s needs.


    In this three-week online course, 10 clock hours, get an introduction to the principles and core competencies of RSC. Develop a foundation of knowledge about reflective supervision/consultation based in infant mental health theory and practice.


    This course uses the Reflective Interaction Observation Scale (RIOS™) as a framework. This course is a prerequisite for the online course RIOS™ 2: Advanced Reflective Supervision Using the RIOS™ Framework, intended for those currently providing or preparing to provide RSC.


    Summer 2021: June 14 to July 6, 2021. Register by June 7. Cost: $215

    Learning objectives:

    • Gain an understanding of the principles and goals of RSC.

    • Learn the structure of an RSC session.

    • Learn how to describe the topics of conversation and methods of inquiry used in RSC when employing the RIOS™ framework.  

    RIOS™ 2: Advanced Reflective Supervision Using the RIOS™ Framework


    Using the Reflective Interaction Observation Scale (RIOS™) as a framework, you’ll learn about the process of beginning and maintaining a reflective alliance with individuals and groups to help professionals build skills and increase self-efficacy. (28 clock hours)


    Summer 2021: July 12 to August 23, 2021. Register by July 5. Cost: Early bird through June 14: $340; After June 14: $360


    Learning objectives


    Learn about and/or expand your knowledge of:


    • the theoretical foundations of reflective supervision and consultation (RSC)

    • the Reflective Interaction Observation Scale (RIOS™) as a framework for the provision of RSC

    • best practice guidelines for reflective supervision/consultation

    • developing a reflective relationship

    • including race and culture in reflective supervision/consultation

    • cultivating reflective capacity in self and others

    • addressing common supervisory challenges

  • 04 Jun 2021 by Christine Hughes

    Please share with your early learning colleagues, friends, and local networks! FAIMH is proud to be sponsoring FAIMH Leader Noemi Marquez as the Keynote Speaker for all the 2021 Summer Summits:
    The Florida Association for the Education of Young Children (FLAEYC) is offering pop-up summer summits across the state to help early childhood teachers and directors better respond to the changing needs of young children after coping with COVID for more than 12 months. This day-long, in-person professional development opportunity focuses on infant and early childhood mental health strategies for the classroom, communicating with families to empower behavior change, and the ever important concept of self-care using developmentally appropriate practices, including play-based learning.
    The dates and locations are listed below. You can access the online registration portal by clicking the date or the location button below.
    ·         June 12: Panama City
    ·         June 26: Miami
    ·         July 10: Tampa Bay
    FLAEYC is keeping costs low thanks to sponsorship from the Florida Association for Infant Mental Health and local Early Learning Coalitions. FLAEYC is also offering scholarships to any early childhood professional – you do not have to be a FLAEYC member to qualify! This is truly an exciting opportunity to finally reconnect, safely, with peers for a unique learning opportunity that cannot be found anywhere else.  
    All classes are 8:30 am – 4:00 pm local time. The cost is $49 per person and includes lunch (before scholarships). CEUs are also available for a small fee and are FREE to all FLAEYC members.
    If you have questions, you can learn more online or by contacting Holly McPhail, FLAEYC’s Events & Communications Manager, at