Kindergarten teachers will tell you that the ingredients for success must include the ability to: follow rules sit and listen in circle time attend to and follow directions
Every parent and caregiver struggles one time or another with how to set limits on children’s behavior without harming their self-concept. The goal of positive discipline is to teach children to develop safe, socially responsible behavior that respects the feelings and property of others!
Discipline and Punishment are not the same. Discipline is guidance and teaching that promotes positive behavior. Punishment is a penalty imposed in reaction to unacceptable behavior. Positive discipline is more effective than punishment because desirable behaviors that last a lifetime must come from within the child rather than be imposed by others.
Guidelines for Positive Discipline… Keep emotion out of the picture! Never humiliate your child or imply that he or she is ‘bad’. Focus on the behavior—be firm without being emotional! Keep your rules simple, clear and specific. Help your child correct the mistake when a rule is violated. Avoid power struggles at all costs— especially with 2 to 4 year olds!
Offer children only those few choices that are acceptable to you— never ask if they ‘want to’ do something that they must do. Avoid overusing ‘no’—save it for the most important situations. Instead, restate the rule, give the child a choice, or redirect the child. Model desired behaviors for your child—don’t ask them, for example, not to yell or hit, if you do!
Make sure your expectations are realistic—learn what is appropriate to your child’s age. Be consistent but not rigid. Plan ahead! (A key to positive results!) Don’t let children become over-tired or hungry, or push them beyond their limits. If you know a situation will trigger problems—avoid it! Child-proof your home and environment to avoid problems.
Plan ahead to keep children busy with age appropriate, fun activities. Busy children who get enough attention are happy children. Maintain a good balance between active play and quiet play. Set rules that are respectful of children and keep their interests in mind. Always acknowledge children’s feelings, especially when you are setting limits. How they feel is important, and it is critical that they feel heard and understood!
Finally… Make sure your children have opportunities to practice rule following and listening in groups before you send them to school— Good choices might include quality preschool programs, playgroups, church programs, etc.
Children prefer positive attention to negative attention, and they thrive and learn better as well. You can prepare your child for school by learning to use Positive Discipline to create happier children who enter Kindergarten… Ready to learn!!!
References: Positive Discipline A to Z—1001 Solutions to Everyday Parenting Problems—Nelson, Lott & Glenn Positive Discipline for Preschoolers—Nelson Erwin & Duffy Loving Your Child Is Not Enough—Nancy Samalin How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk—Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish When Your Child Drives You Crazy—Eda LeShan Your Child’s Self Esteem—Dorothy Briggs Without Spanking or Spoiling—Elizabeth Crary A Guide To Discipline--NAEYC