Discipline Talk to Practice with Children
from St. Mary's County Family Day Care Association, Inc. Newsletter February 2000 Issue

  1. Connect before you direct -- Before giving your child directions, squat to his eye level to get his attention. Teach him how to focus: "Matthew, I need your eyes." "Lauren, I need your eyes." Be sure you're not so intense that the child perceives this as controlling rather than connecting.
  2. Stay brief -- Use the one sentence rule. Put the main directive in the opening sentence. The longer your ramble, the more likely your child will become parent-deaf.
  3. Be positive -- Instead of saying, "No running," try saying "Inside we walk, but outside you may run."
  4. Give choices -- Teach your child to make decisions. Ask, "Do you want to put your pajamas on firs, or brush your teeth first?"
  5. Make an offer your child can't refuse -- You can reason with a 2 or 3 year old, especially to avoid power struggles: "Lauren get dressed so you can go outside and play." " when ... then" statements. "When your work is finished, then you can play."
  6. Give likable alternatives -- Offer appealing alternatives. Say, "You can't go by yourself to the park, but you can play in the neighbor's yard."
  7. Use humor as discipline -- Use humor to give a child a second chance to obey. Our children love videos, so we sometimes put on our "rewind" theatrics; "Matthew protests. Immediately I say "Rewind!" I step back a few feet and start over, this time making a grand gesture toward Matthew, indicating the cue for his second chance. This approach usually results in both laughter and obedience.
  8. Use repetition -- Another variation of the rewind game is when we call "instant replay". Since our children are into videos, they understand the concepts of "rewind" and "replay". Here's an example: a dangerous street. I clicked into our danger-preventing play. We play and rewind. Three times we reenact the scene. We run to the street and look both ways saying "look this way, no cars. Look that way, no cars" then we walk across the street to our friend's house. By graphic repetition, you hope to imprint the habit of automatically looking both ways looking both ways for cars as soon as the approach a curb, and then crossing the street.

Submitted by Suzanne Rog


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