Topic: 6 positive (and effective) discipline strategies teachers swear by
It happens to all parents, even those of us professionally trained in child behavior. One moment our kid is smiling and adorable and then—in an instant—that sweet little Honey Bear morphs into a wild Honey Badger. Just about every child on the planet will portray “spirited” or strong-willed behavior from time to time, mine included. Remember that a child having a rough moment does not mean that they are a bad kid, or that you are a bad parent.
It’s normal for parents to feel worn down from the negotiating, arguing and scolding that sometimes comes with kids. If you are also in this good company, try these evidence-based behavioral strategies utilized in classrooms by teachers like myself around the world, adapted for parental use at home.
The positive discipline strategies teachers use to help kids listen, learn and grow:
1. Be proactive, not reactive
As adults, it’s easy to assume that our kids just know certain rules, especially ones that seem like common sense. But if we’ve never clearly stated an expectation, kids may not be aware. From birth to age three, a child’s brain develops so rapidly that it produces over a million neural connections every second. They are intaking so much stimulus that sometimes you are going to have to explain things that may seem like a no-brainer.
Rather than being reactive when they make a mistake, try being proactive to try to prevent the mistake before it starts. For example:
Before you give them crayons or markers: “We only color in coloring books or paper we give you. We do not color on walls or furniture.”
Before you go to the park (or anywhere they may not want to leave): “I will let you play for as long as we have time, but when I say it’s time to go, you listen. If you do that without arguing, we can keep coming back to the park.”
2. Use positive reinforcement
Have you ever had a boss that only points out what you did wrong and never acknowledges what you did right? Over time, it’s easy to lose the motivation to please. The same goes for kids and adults. Noticing—and praising—when they do something right is a necessary step to making them keep wanting to do the right thing, again and again.
Positive reinforcement doesn’t have to mean a present, especially if it’s an expected behavior (like not biting the dentist). Verbal praise works just as well. Even a simple “I noticed how you used self-control, even when you were scared. You should be proud of yourself.” can be very impactful.
Topic Discussed: 6 positive (and effective) discipline strategies teachers swear by
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