We’re spreading the positive parenting vibes this week through our series on positive discipline techniques. If you missed them, check out parts 1 and 2 on our blog. Today we’re rounding out the series with the tips and tricks of positive discipline that can really make a difference in successfully using this method every day.
Tips & Tricks for Positive Discipline
- Eye Contact: When you give direction, make eye contact with your child. If you’re multi-tasking or your child is busy at play, no one is taking the request seriously. Get acknowledgement that the direction was received as well.
- State Directions, Don’t Ask: A question implies a choice but a statement is clear direction. This will help make expectations straight-forward for everyone.
- Give Specific Direction: If you have an expectation, make known exactly what you mean. If you want your children to get ready for dinner say something like, “please clean up your toys, wash your hands and come help me set the table for dinner.” A simple, “let’s get ready for dinner,” may result in your kids rushing straight to the table without cleaning, washing or helping.
- Redirect: Especially for the youngest members of your household, redirection can be a beautiful thing. If there is strife over something, offer a quick alternative or change the environment to break free from the conflict of the moment. Even just singing a song or doing a dance can snap everyone out of a foul mood.
- Reminders are Helpful: Before going crazy about rule breaking, remind your child of the rules and consequences. This gentle push may be all your child needs to correct her own mistakes.
- When/Then Statements: If your little one is refusing to follow directions, use a when/then statement such as “when you clean up your blocks, then we can go outside.”
- Count: It’s an oldie but goodie and boy do kids love a challenge. Give your kids a countdown to when they are expected to do something. It’s amazing how kids spring into action when they hear your numbers.
- Make Room for Choices: Let your kids have some control over their situation by giving them choices. But make sure all of the choices are acceptable to you as well before offering them.
- Ask for Help: Kids often love helping so make them part of the solution. Tell them the problem you’ve been having with their behavior and ask for input on how to resolve it.
- Let Natural Consequences Occur: Instead of doling out consequences yourself, let your children discover what happens if they don’t follow directions. If your child refuses to eat breakfast, they may be hungry mid-morning. If your child won’t wear a cold, she may be cold. These are teachable moments that won’t make you the bad guy.
- Get a Little Silly: Sometimes you need to lighten the mood to nip behavioral problems. Make up a fun phrase for rules or directions, or have a funny way of getting your child’s attention so she’ll focus on your requests.
- Don’t Overload Instructions: Break down your instructions into one or two easy parts at a time so what you are asking is manageable.
- Respond and Move On: If a behavior problem calls for your most aggressive positive discipline tactics, talk it over with your child once everyone is calm. Then let it go and start fresh.
We hope you adopt some of these positive discipline techniques for a happier, calmer and more positive family experience!
Sources: Parents Magazine, PBS and Attachment Parenting