Is it ever appropriate to cuddle children in your care? This is a tricky question and the answer depends on many variables: the age of the child, the circumstances, who is doing the cuddling, and why?
As a general rule of thumb, cuddling is OK, so long as it is initiated by the child, and is not for the gratification of the adult. However, you should consider the age and needs of the child and the situation leading to the seeking of comfort, when you assess whether it is appropriate or not.
For example, a tired four year old, who has just taken a tumble, may well be in need of a cuddle for comfort. However, if an 11 year old comes and puts their arms around you, with no obvious need for contact, you should question the appropriateness of the situation and explain that it isn’t acceptable.
The 'rules' for when cuddling is appropriate (or not) at your club should be something you discuss collectively with all staff, so that the issues can be explored and understood by everyone. You can then draw up your club's guidelines for comforting children and make sure that all staff adhere to them.
Posted by: Catherine Wrench
Date: 1 June 2018