The Alliance for Early Childhood provides our community with a multitude of opportunities to better understand and enhance the lives of our young children. In March, The Alliance sponsored an afternoon with Tuesday’s Child, Behavior Management Experts in Chicago. The discussion was enlightening, uplifting, humorous and educational. Many of Willow Wood’s staff members were in attendance and took away new strategies and ideas to implement in the classrooms.
Here is a brief outline of what we learned. If you’d like more information on Tuesday’s Child, please do not hesitate to ask me. We all were extremely impressed with the staff.
- CATCH YOUR CHILD BEING GOOD
“I’m so happy to see you smiling”, “I’m so proud you calmed yourself down”, “Thank you for throwing away your napkin”. Even the simplest, most average and mundane positive statements are effective. If you
want to reverse a particularly negative behavior, praise your child 20 times an hour, for two hours. This may seem difficult, but even, “You look nice in your blue shirt”, “ I like the pants you chose today”, count in the 20 praises.
- USE WHEN/THEN ENCOURAGEMENTS
When you put your coat on, then we can leave for school. When you put your train away, then you can have a snack. When you finish your bath, then we will read a story.
- VALIDATE FIRST…PROBLEM SOLVE SECOND
1. That was a surprise your tower fell down! 2. How can we rebuild it?
1. It is sad when Daddy leaves for work. 2. Do you want to draw him a picture?
1. I know it is hard to leave your play date. 2. What song do you want to sing in the car to
make you feel better?
- TRY TO AVOID “NO—DON’T—STOP” WHEN BEGINNING A STATEMENT
Instead of, “No, you can’t have a cookie”, try “You can have an apple”.
Instead of, “Don’t take your boots off in the car”, try “Let’s leave your boots on your feet.”
Instead of, “Stop whining”, try “I like your singing voice better”.
STOP should be used for emergency situations, for example, when a child runs into the street.
These practices may seem daunting, but taking the time to change how we speak to children will ultimately become routine and may become the natural way we communicate with them. When I re-read the title of this article, I realized it was negative. Therefore, I simply changed it to the positive!