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Sensitive Conversations with Military Families: Communicating Well When It Matters Most

CE credit is not available for this webinar.

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The complex lives of military families can create stress for their children. Young children communicate that stress through their behavior, which may include withdrawn or aggressive behavior, or losing skills they had previously mastered. Child care providers who care for and teach these children have an important role to play in working with their parents to address the emotional and behavioral impact that stress is having on the children.

But these are difficult topics to discuss. The effectiveness of the effort depends on the child care provider's skill in approaching and engaging with parents on sensitive topics.

This web conference will focus on:
- the impact of military-related family circumstances on young children and the various behaviors that may result;
- attitudes and approaches toward parents that deeply impact the success of the parent-provider partnership in working through a difficult situation;
- strategies for effective communication during each step of the process, from initially approaching parents, to developing a plan to provide additional support for the child, to assessing his or her progress; and
- the importance of maintaining respect, confidentiality, and a positive, strength-based approach in these conversations.

CE credit is not available for this webinar.


Julia Yeary, ACSW, LCSW
As the Director of Training and Resources for Military Family Projects at ZERO TO THREE, Julia works to establish stronger support for military and veteran families with very young children through training and consultation. Julia received her MSW in 1980 from the University of Hawaii and through most of her professional career has worked with military families, including serving as the Program Director at Camp Pendleton for their New Parent Support Home Visitor Program, working in Family Readiness and Family Advocacy, and volunteering as a spouse mentor. Julia is the author of several articles on promoting strong connections between parent and child, and ways early care programs can partner with military parents. She has presented at numerous workshops and conferences across the country and overseas. As a Marine Spouse, Julia has raised her 2 children through multiple deployments.

Donna Ruhland, M.Ed.
Donna has been working in the field of early childhood education for twenty-seven years. Ms. Ruhland earned her undergraduate degrees in Early Childhood Education and Human Development and a graduate degree in Early Childhood from Kent State University. She earned Pre-K Licensure and an Early Intervention Specialist Certification in Ohio. Ms. Ruhland also completed post-graduate work in Infant Mental Health and received certification as an Infant Mental Health Specialist from the Merrill Palmer Institute at Wayne State University. Her experience in the early childhood field includes work as a child care center lead teacher, a preschool teacher, and as a family child care provider. She worked in the field of early intervention for ten years as a service coordinator and as evaluation coordinator through a home visiting model. Ms. Ruhland has served as a community trainer for twenty-three years and taught as an adjunct for the Early Childhood Department at Sinclair Community College for fourteen years, and is currently an adjunct at Columbus State Community College. Donna also worked for local child care resource and referral agency for seven years before joining the Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Association (OCCRRA) in 2005 as Director of Professional Development. Donna currently serves as Director of Professional Services. She has also served on a number of boards and committees in the early childhood and social services fields.

For more information about provider-parent relationships with military families:
• Parent-Provider Relationships: 7 Keys to Good Communication (article)
• If Only I’d Known: Enhancing Parent-Provider Communication (blog post)
• Intentional Connection: Establishing Positive Relationships Between Child Care Providers and Military Families (recorded webinar)

Recommended Books on Related Topics:
• "Relationships, the Heart of Quality Care: Creating Community Among Adults in Early Care Settings," by Amy Baker and Lynn Mandredi-Petitt (NAEYC)
• "Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High," by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan & Switzler (McGraw Hill)


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