Kate’s Corner: Positive Discipline — It Really Works!
Posted November 23, 2009on:
All parents, at one time or another, find themselves at a loss when it comes time to be the disciplinarian. Over and over again, that concern surfaces as we talk to parents, both in our EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers and in the community. As teachers and caregivers, we try to head off that challenge by implementing what we call positive discipline.
Here are some basic tips to use with children of all ages, to help defuse discipline problems before they even start.
1) Established Expectations: Make sure your child knows what he can expect from you. Children often don’t deal well with surprises or know how to cope in new situations, and adults often become frustrated when their children state, “I didn’t know….” Explain rules and consequences, and follow through with them. Prepare your children ahead of time before putting them into a potentially new or unfamiliar situation, letting them know how you expect them to behave.
2) Consistency is Key: Set your rules and limits carefully, then stick with them. If children are not allowed to eat in the living room today, then they aren’t allowed tomorrow – no matter how tired you are or what relatives are over. If exceptions are made too often, children can’t be sure what is right and what is wrong.
3) Stay Calm: Nobody wins a shouting match. All too often parents say and do things they regret, and feel guilty later because things got out of control. Help your children – and your stress levels – by modeling appropriate behavior for handling anger and frustration.
4) Set Priorities: Decide what infractions you can live with and what is out of the question. One parent may not be able to tolerate children not cleaning up, while another parent may place this at the bottom of the priority list. Pick your battles. And remember, your child assimilates your value system!
5) “Catch” Your Child Being Good: An important part of discipline is praising your child when they’ve exhibited appropriate or exceptional behavior. Be positive, use a loving voice and gestures, and reinforce their efforts to cooperate at every step. Children will always respond to positive praise, no matter what their age.
The word “discipline” often carries a negative connotation, but discipline does not equal punishment! In the field of child development, discipline refers to methods of modeling character and of teaching self-control and acceptable behavior, which is what we strive for here at EduKids.
Make Learning Fun!
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director