How to complete “What is important to?”
Today, we are going to help you to produce the second section of a One Page Profile – the Important To section
This section looks at what is important to the child or young person. Many people get confused between important to and important for. The easiest way to explain is:
Important to = things that are of value to the person, things that make them feel happy, content, fulfilled.
Important for = things that keep them healthy, safe, valued and having the opportunities to learn.
If our children have complex health needs, or perhaps they are what we refer to as “a runner”, or perhaps they have pica and eat random things (always joyful when your son eats the polystyrene packaging); we tend to focus on keeping them healthy and safe and sometimes forget about what makes them happy. Service providers are often the worst culprits of this. Health and social care staff will sometimes confuse the important to/for. They may use the correct phrases but their understanding of them can be somewhat different to ours.
It is essential to get a balance between important to and important for; so if, for example, it is important to your child (this is something they value) to have chocolate, it is important for them (to keep them healthy) that this isn’t every meal every day. However, we look at how we achieve this balance in a future post. For this week, let’s just focus on finding out what is important to your child or young person.
So what sort of things do you put in this section?
One way to get a list of what is important to our child or young person is to chat with them about what makes a really good day. If you were both planning their best day ever, what would it entail?
- Who would be with them?
- Where would they go?
- What would they do?
- What would they eat?
- What flavor crisps?
- What music would they listen to?
- Would they prefer headphones?
- What games would they play?
- What would they take with them?
Sometimes, as parents, It becomes so routine for us to pack a certain item, or pack certain foods in a lunch bag, that we don’t even think of these things as being important to our children, so it is good to ask other people for their views too.
Who do you ask?
Obviously, first and foremost, you ask your child. Then, ask the same people you approached about the Appreciation section; the key people in your child’s life.
- family (brothers, sisters, grand parents, aunts, uncles & cousins.
- teaching assistant.
- class mates
- carers –
- Personal Assistant,
- short break provider.
- transport provider.
How do you ask them?
Again, you can send them a postcard asking them to list three things they think are important to your child (explaining that this means something they value). Send them a text. Use Facebook messenger. Give them a call. You will probably now how best to approach different people.
What doesn’t go in here?
This isn’t about the things they need to keep safe. So, for example, losing weight, getting fit, taking medication, eating healthily or ensuring they sleep for a certain amount of hours are not important to them, they are important for them. They keep them safe and healthy
How can you support your child or young person when completing this section?
Again, it is similar to how you supported your child or young person when completing the Appreciation section.
- Explain what you are doing and why;
- show them the post card or text message you are thinking of sending;
- discuss who you will be sending it to and constantly check throughout that they are happy for you to do this.
- explain what you will do with the answers and how these will form part of the One Page Profile, and most importantly,
- explain again what the One Page Profile will be used for.
Your younger child may be more open to describing their perfect day and it possibly will involve leaving the house.
It may get more challenging if you have a child or young person who would love to spend 24/7 on his iPad or x-box. When I had to do this with my son (who would live in his PJs on his Ipad or games console, be fed and never leave the home if he was given a choice), we did a whole chat about “if we had a power cut, had no wi-fi, nothing was charged and we had to leave the house to stay warm and eat, where would we go, etc.” We totally accept that it is important to him that he gets time on his ipad but it would be a really limited list if we left it at that.
What do you put in the final version?
- Collect all the responses you have received and together with your child, choose the things they believe to be important. List all the responses in detail. So instead of “he has to have crisps in his lunch box” – specify the flavour or brand if that is of importance to him.
- This One Page Profile is about your child or young person. It should contain what is important to THEM.
- This One Page Profile should tell someone who has never met your child about them as they are now. So, leave out any comment that starts with “they used to like……”.