The Morris Street School Family Resource Center offers a variety of parent workshops each year. One of our most popular, positive discipline, was comprised of techniques used by the Morris Street School Readiness Staff. With summer fast approaching, we hope this information will be helpful to parents of young children.
Our goal when disciplining our children is to teach them to be responsible, cooperative, kind and respectful. Where did we get the idea that to help children behave better, we need to make them feel worse? Children behave better when they feel better.
Disclipline should: 1) Help children feel a sense of connection 2) Be respectful and encouraging 3) Be effective 4) Teach social and life skills 5) Help children realize their capabilities 6) Be at the child’s eye level
Always keep in mind that the age, maturity level, and temperament of your child should be considered when enforcing a set disciplinary action. Disciplinary actions should be discussed and understood in advance so that children know what is to be expected and can hopefully choose an appropriate route. Most importantly, remember that it’s not the child you dislike; it’s his or her chosen behavior, action or misdeed.
The following are positive discipline techniques used by the Morris Street School Readiness Staff.
1) Offer Choices: Give your child 2 choices, both of which are positive and acceptable to you.
Example: If your child does not want to come inside from playing you say, “Either you may hold my hand or walk in on your own, you choose.” You choose or I’ll choose is the next choice if your child is still reluctant.
2) Redirection: Instead of yelling at a child to stop doing what he/she is doing, offer the child an alternative way to do what they want to do. By distracting children and redirecting them from a difficult situation to a proper one, we allow them some fee space to be themselves. —Example: If a child picks up a vase, instead of yelling at him/her to stop, get his/her attention by saying “A vase is not a toy, but look at this red car, it goes fast!”
3) Thinking Chair: The thinking chair is similar to time out, but allows the child to think about his/her behavior. Remove the child from a situation and place him/her in a chair in a quiet area. Tell your child that he/she has a few minutes to think about making better choices. When the time is complete, ask your child what choices should have been made. For older children, they can even write an apology letter.
4) When/Then: Set rules ahead of time. “When you finish your homework, then you may watch TV.” This technique teaches children to be responsible and accountable.
5) Make a Big Deal: When your child is doing the right thing, acknowledge it with praise and/or tell others! —Example: “You should of seen Billy at the grocery store, he held my hand and listened the whole time. I am very proud” —Example: Praise when the action happens, “ I like how you are walking in the hallway, great job!”
6) Encourage Little Helpers: Give your children small jobs to do around the house to help you! —Example: If you are cleaning, give your child a cloth and ask him/her to help you dust the table. Children feel a sense of responsibility and will not be creating a mess while you work.
7) Positive Closure: At the end of the day, remind your child that he/she is special and loved! Help your child look for something good about the day and plan something good for the next day ahead!
Have a positive summer from the Morris Street School Readiness Staff!