Clarice Podrebarac, LCSW

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Episode: Looking

Looking with Clarice Podrebarac, LCSW

Vice President, PACES, Wyandot Behavioral Health Network

By: Kenzie Eklund

Kenzie is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with an emphasis in journalism and mass communication. She began her work with RaisingKC through an opportunity within her Capstone course and continued her role on the team through an internship. With a degree in communications, Kenzie says that she has been able to apply all of the wonderful information RaisingKC has to offer within her role as a nanny, as well as relationships she has with other adults. 

How does looking help an adult connect with a child? The child feels “seen”, valued and “important”; someone is there to help, as a child develops self-sufficiency. Through eye-contact and focusing on “seeing” a child, an adult is present and attuned to the child’s problems to help teach solutions. And when a child feels “seen”, this teaches how to look at problems as solvable, not hopeless, thus building goal-setting self-sufficiency.

 Clarice gives insight on how important Looking is to healthy childhood development. 

What to do: 

  • When building a relationship with children, prioritize looking at them and seeing them. When they are talking, maintain eye contact. If you want to teach a behavior, adjust your facial expressions, energy and behavior for them to see that you are being serious. You can show them that they matter and that they are important just by looking. 

Why it matters: 

  • Behaviors are a language for little ones…and older children, too. Particularly when children haven’t developed language through speaking , they rely heavily on looking at their surroundings. From a young age, children are able to form relationships with adults through what they see. 

One big takeaway

  • Seeing with a capital S. Looking at children versus actually seeing them are two completely different things. When you make a connection with children through eye contact or a quick smile, it can make them feel important.