“Please don't…” I started to react to my son standing up in his chair at the dinner table. I didn't go further. Every day is an opportunity to execute positive communicate with my sons. In fact, they give me lots and lots of opportunities throughout the day.
I began again, “Chairs are for sitting in.” That's it. He sat down. I disciplined him in a way that guided him to the appropriate behavior, rather than completely shutting him down.
As I have mentioned in previous parenting posts, positive communication positive does not come easy. I have to practice. A lot. One resource for me is my Montessori course work. My MEIPN Montessori instructor from Woodinville Montessori School recently reviewed a piece adapted from work by Suzanne Smith, who based this piece on work on Positive Discipline for Preschoolers inspired by Teaching Parenting the Positive Discipline day by Lynn Lott and Jane Nelsen.
I know the choice option pretty well. To be honest, that approach does not always work. So I was thrilled when I read this handout. The authors suggest the following tools when a child desires to do something other than what is expected of him. I underlined the parts that can be adapted to your particular situation whether at home or in the classroom or in public.
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9 Refreshing Ways to Positively Communicate with Kids
- State Clear Expectations: “As soon as you finish your carrots, then you may go play trains.”
- Respond with a Question: “Would you like to do this yourself, or do you want/need my help?”
- State a Given: “This is dinnertime.”
- Check the child's knowledge or understanding: “What needs to happen before you can go outside?”
- Invite cooperation: “I need your help…can you figure out the most helpful thing you could do right now?”
- Limited Choices: “Would you rather set the table or feed the dog? “Would you like to get dressed now or take your clothes to school in a bag?
- Say what you want: “I want you to stay with me while we shop.”
- Negotiate an agreement: “If I let you watch your favorite t.v. show, when will you clean up your play area?
- Follow through: “Time to pick up your trains now.” Or “What was our agreement?” Then wait for a response. In Love & Logic fashion, don't argue, just calmly repeat a one liner like “I know.” or “now”.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found this helpful.