Monday, May 14, 2012

Teach Children What To Do

The Parenting Tool this week was Teach Children What To Do.  To me, this tool sums up Positive Discipline and Montessori in one!  Teach - what a powerful word.   I love that, very simply,  a parent or educator can learn to respond to what they view as disciplinary problems with education.

I have heard that very young children have a bit of selective hearing.  A parent might say, "Don't hit" or "Don't jump on the couch", and the young child hears "hit" or "Jump on the couch".  I don't know if that is exactly true, but it does seem like that when they do exactly what you tell them not to do.  I also know a lot of parents who complain that their toddler's favorite word is "no".  If that is the word that they hear most often, then it is likely that that will be the word that they use most often too.

There is a very commonly known quote from Maria Montessori, "Help me to do it by myself"!  Young children desire instruction as to what to do.  Knowing this, we can easily divert a child who is doing something undesirable by teaching them what they can do.  If a child is repeating a behavior, then we have to assume that they have a need to do it for the purpose of acquiring a specific skill.  We have to give the opportunity to do it in an appropriate way.  A child who is constantly throwing things needs to be given a soft ball to throw inside or taken outside to throw a ball there.

Our baby boy started pushing things around the house.  Things like our laundry basket, light furniture, pots and pans, etc.  We recognized his need to have a safe and appropriate thing to push.  Once we gave him a push wagon to use whenever he desired, his pushing behavior was curtailed and we were less likely  trip over random things in strange places.

One rainy afternoon, our daughter was climbing all over our furniture, jumping and sliding down the most unlikely things.  First I asked her to use the couch for sitting.  She continued to climb minutes later.  I recognized her need to climb.  We went to a indoor gym that afternoon, where she was instructed in some major moving and climbing.  Her needs to climb were met and my needs to have her stop climbing the furniture were met!

Teaching is pretty easy, and it can be fun too, but most importantly it is a very effective parenting tool!

Next we will work on: Put Kids in the Same Boat.

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