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Communicating Expectations Clearly

 

Many of us are familiar with the frustration we feel when someone or their actions disappoints us. While that frustration can certainly be warranted, it’s also a good time to be introspective about whether your expectations have been clearly communicated. Children typically want to be pleasers, but they may not always know what things they should be doing and may only hear about things they shouldn’t have done. Be clear in the expectations for your household and communicate through specific positive feedback when you see the desired behaviors or results.

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Key Differences of Conscious Discipline and Traditional Discipline

 

Becky Baily, the developer of Conscious Discipline, outlines the key differences between what many of us grew up with (Traditional Discipline), and the strategies we aim to implement (Conscious Discipline) in three parts.  Traditionally, adults tried to make others change by prescribing the right punishment or withholding something desired.  Conscious Discipline on the other hand, realizes the individual will need to change themselves due to an internal process driven by how we interact with them.  Secondly, we may have been brought up believing rules and consequences govern behavior, while those studying Conscious Discipline come to realize relationships govern behavior.  For example, I want to solve conflict with family members because I love them so much.  Lastly, Conscious Discipline recognizes that conflict doesn’t have to be bad, but it does need to be productive.  It is an opportunity for growth and for us as parents and teachers to show children how to reflect on their choices internally, rather than us choosing the right consequence.  http://youtu.be/8j3gF1dh_t4

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Care Calls

This summer, through national news outlets, we have again seen coverage of the unthinkable tragedy of infants and children being left in parked cars while the parent forgot them and went into work or into their home.  As you may already know, educators at Academy of Early Childhood Learning follow our policy of making “care calls” to parents.  Should your child not be dropped off at their regular time we will call to check if your child will be attending that day.  Please help us by giving us a call if there will be a change in your routine.  During our 17 years of providing quality care and education, it’s unknown if our calls saved a life, but perhaps a parent is thanking us silently every day.

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Can we be done with diapers!?

One very common area in which parents struggle and look to our teachers for guidance or advice is in potty training.  It is important to recognize your child’s readiness.  Rushing the potty-training process can set them up for failure.  Some common readiness cues we see include: staying dry for two hours at a time or through naptime, moving to a different area of the room or behind a shelf when having a BM or urinating, the child recognizing that they are wet or dirty and wanting to be changed, and the child showing interest in wearing big boy/girl pants or sitting on the potty.  Every child is different and not every child will let you know in the same way, but more than anything, keep a positive attitude, use words of encouragement, and accept that there will be accidents.  The following links have some helpful advice:

http://www.zerotothree.org/child-development/early-development/all-about-potty-training.html

The following link details some of the behaviors in those whose potty training is a little more challenging:

http://www.parents.com/videos/v/73293232/solve-potty-training-problems.htm?q=potty

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Great Expectations

One of the key pieces of PBS is having and teaching your child your expectations. They need to know what you expect of their behavior in order to fulfill those expectations. The key is to keep your expectations basic and age appropriate. It is important to show them what each expectation looks like as well. Walk through the task with them explaining what you are doing.

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Pre-correct strategy

One of the easiest and most effective strategies we use is called the “pre-correct.” Simply stated you correct an anticipated misbehavior by stating your expectations before the behavior occurs. Example:I will read one book and then I will kiss you good night and turn out the light. By telling the children what you expect them to do, you can avoid a great deal of negatives. (no, don’t, stop, etc.)

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Re-teach expectations

Some parents have asked why their child does a behavior when they already know the expectations. Many things trigger behavior choices for children. Regardless of why, it is important to take the proactive approach. Re-teach what you expect of your child and continue to practice the correct way with them. If they forget how or do not complete an expected task, ask them if they need to practice again.

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Give good attention

It is important to provide attention for appropriate behavior rather than inappropriate behavior. The goal is to increase the positive interactions while reducing the negative ones. Negative interactions such as arguments, reprimands, lectures and criticism lead to power struggles and more inappropriate behavior. Catch them being good, and acknowledge it! Statements such as “You told me you were mad without screaming”, “You took turns with your sister”, “You picked up the toys on your floor” encourage children to continue appropriate behavior.

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Holidays, guests & visitors OH MY!

Does your child take the opportunity to act out whenever you have guests or visit another home? If so, you are in good company! The good news is PBS techniques work here too. Before the event, pre-correct your child –tell them your behavior expectations. During your visit, if you see them doing the right thing specifically praise that they are. If your child forgets during the visit specifically remind them how they are expected to behave. If however, that unfortunately does not end the undesired behavior, then follow through with the appropriate consequence for their action. It is important for children to understand that you will be consistent with your follow through regardless of the location or audience! Happy Holidays! I hope this helps!

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Positive verbal feedback

An important part of encouraging children to behave properly is to acknowledge when they do. The key is to tie your praise to the specific behavior that deserves recognition. Instead of saying “you did a great job” try “you did a great job picking up your blocks!” Make sure the feedback you give is accurate, specific and descriptive, and fits your style. By recognizing behaviors you want to see, you give your child more incentive to do them and hopefully reduce the less desirable behaviors that get your attention.

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