Category: Positive Discipline

7 Ways to Raise a Low-Media Child

7 Ways to Raise a Low-Media Child

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In this high-tech, fast paced world, our family is making a radical move… we’re deliberately going LOW-tech. I’ve always dreamed of a simple, classical childhood for my children. I want them to read books, play outside, explore, go on adventures, build forts, color, and build. And I want them to want to do these things. Not to do them as a way to pass the time before I allow them to watch yet another TV show.

Technology is increasing much faster than research and studies can determine what is actually best for children’s developing brains. The American Academy of Pediatrics already recommends no screen time for children under 2 years, and a 1 hour limit per day of high-quality programs for 2-5 year olds. I always wonder if that limit will become more stringent as time goes on and we can really see the effects of technology over time.

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The One Rule That Will Make Your Child More Polite

The One Rule That Will Make Your Child More Polite

Teaching politeness to your child is not just about instilling good manners; it’s about nurturing empathy, respect, and effective communication skills. It takes patience and consistency in your efforts to cultivate politeness, but it is a valuable trait that will serve them well throughout their lives.

From a very early age children begin learning that their words are powerful, and can use as a means of getting their needs and wants met. But when children’s words start trending towards rude and abrasive it may be time to implement this one simple rule in your home…

Children must ask a question, instead of making a demand 

A demand is made from a sense of entitlement. The child feels that they should have something, and so they say it… “I want a snack!!” “Give it to mee!!” “It’s my turn!!”

Many parents focus too much on correcting the tone of their child’s demand rather than requiring them to ask for permission. For example, if a child yells “I want a snack!,” many parents will redirect them to say “I want a snack, please” in a nicer tone of voice. Tacking on a “please” is definitely more polite, but it doesn’t address the deeper issue. 

Requiring your child to ask you a direct question has many underlying benefits, and it’s more polite. Instead of “I want a snack,” it’s, “May I have a snack please?” And instead of “It’s my turn”, its “May I have a turn?” The subtle difference in requiring your child to ask permission instead of making a demand reaffirms that the parent is in control. When your child asks for something, you as the parent can say “yes,” or you can say “no.” The parent is in charge of making the decision.

 Children are much more likely to accept a “no” when it’s in response to a question they’ve asked rather than a demand they have made

Because in the act of asking the question, the child is already prepared to hear a yes or no answer…they know that it’s a 50/50 chance.

No Nagging Needed – “Asked and Answered”

Another benefit to having your child ask permission is that it naturally shuts down nagging. A child can walk around the house demanding “I want to watch a movie” a million times, but when you require them to ask you directly “May I watch a movie?” they get a definitive answer. If the answer is “no” and they ask you again, you can simply say “asked and answered.” When parents are consistent, children learn quickly that “no” really means “no” and they stop whining and nagging.

Important Things to Note

Make sure to provide your child lots of opportunities to make age-appropriate choices throughout the day, so that they can also feel a sense of control over their environment. For example, letting your child choose what they want to wear or what kind of fruit they want with their breakfast. Children who are given the opportunity to make choices will be less likely to lash out when parents need to make tough decisions os say “no.”

Of course like any parenting strategy, it takes time to teach your child that they need to ask, rather than demand. Whenever my son makes a statement like “I need a snack now!!” I simply say, “Are you trying to ask me something?” He immediately knows to ask politely for whatever it is that he wants.

He still struggles (as most 3 year olds do) when the answer is “no,” but it’s getting better every day. The important thing to me is that he learns respect for authority. I want him to know that he needs to ask permission because we as his parents know what is best for him, even if he doesn’t understand it in the moment.

5 Reasons Why Bribes Don’t Work for Kids

5 Reasons Why Bribes Don’t Work for Kids

We’ve all done it at one point or another…bribing our kids to gain their cooperation. “If you finish your dinner, you can have a cookie.” “Be a good boy at Grandmas house and then we can go to the park.” “If you do your homework, then you can have some TV time.”

It is so easy to fall into the trap of bribing our kids, because it seems like the quickest way to gain their compliance. Parents say “it works” because it gets kids to do what we ask, but bribes can have long-term negative effects on our children’s motivation and behavior. Here are 5 reasons to stop bribing your kids and what to do instead:

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7 Positive Ways to Get Your Kids to Stop Whining

7 Positive Ways to Get Your Kids to Stop Whining

Whining is one of the most irritating things that young children do, and it can push any parent to their absolute breaking point. Kids whine for a variety of reasons: they could be tired, hungry, sick, frustrated, or looking for attention. If parents give in to whining (think, toy or candy bar at the store), then kids learn that whining gets them what they want. The key to overcoming this habit begins in the calm moments where we as parents can come up with a plan to address our children’s whining in positive, non-shaming ways.

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3 Effective Phrases to Use with Strong-Willed Toddlers

3 Effective Phrases to Use with Strong-Willed Toddlers

Parenting a toddler is a lot like being a hostage negotiator: it takes planning, strategy, and some out of the box thinking. When we ask a toddler to do something, 90% of the time the reaction is a Big. Fat. NO. Eating dinner, getting strapped into the car, taking a bath, going to bed; almost any daily task can turn into a battle of wills when it comes to toddlers. At times, toddlers are so committed to saying “no” that they say “no” even when they mean “yes.” For example:

Parent: “Do you want your eggs?”
Toddler: “No!”
Parent: (takes eggs away)
Toddler: (crying) “I want my eggs!!”

Sound familiar?

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3 Fears That Could Be Affecting Your Preschooler’s Behavior

3 Fears That Could Be Affecting Your Preschooler’s Behavior

The age of preschool is an emotionally confusing time for young children. Between the ages of 3 and 5 years old, children are working through a lot of insecurities and fears that they do not yet have the language skills to articulate.

These common worries tend to surface in their every day lives through sadness and tantrums, and it can be difficult to differentiate the causes of the outbursts. In an effort to better understand our sweet little ones, here are 3 common fears that your preschooler isn’t yet able to tell you:

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The Benefits of NOT Saying “Good Job”

The Benefits of NOT Saying “Good Job”

As a special ed preschool teacher, and mother to a rambunctious toddler, I am literally caring for small children every waking hour of the day. Through the haze of circle times, centers, wiping noses, and play-time, I hear myself spewing out line after line of praise to my students, almost like a broken record…

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4 Montessori Strategies to Help Prevent a Toddler Meltdown

4 Montessori Strategies to Help Prevent a Toddler Meltdown

We’ve all seen the toddler meltdown. It’s that “end of the world,” sobbing tantrum over something so small you may not have even known what it was. A lot of the time, they don’t even know what it was. Toddlerhood is a unique time in childhood in which the child wants so desperately to be in control, to be “big,” and yet he is still so little. The desire for independence comes out through power struggles that make no sense, and parents are simply riding this roller coaster of toddler emotions.

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