Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Positive Discipline for preschoolers

Much of what people mislabel as 'misbehaviour' in preschoolers has more to do with emotional, physical, and cognitive development and age-appropriate behaviour. Young children need teaching, guidance, and LOVE (which is a good definition of Positive Discipline.

Positive Discipline has nothing do with punishment and everything to do with teaching valuable social and life skills. Discipline means to 'educate' It means you must decide as a parent what to do and then follow through with kindness and firmness. You must be confident and consistent.

This is how you will build a respectful loving relationship with your child.

In order to do this thing called Positive Discipline... you may want to look at Jane Nelsen's building blocks of Positive Discipline:

1. Mutual respect
2. Understanding the belief behind the behaviour
3. Effective communication skills
4. Understand your child's world
5. Discipline that teaches
6. Focusing on solutions instead of punishment
7. Encouragement
8. Children do better when they feel better.

Think about what each of these sections means to you and your family. Take time to write down your concerns with your own child and really focus on solutions and ideas on what you can do to affect the situations.

Keep an eye out for further details in the future on each of these ideas.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Biting and under 3

 Biting and my personal journey...

With my oldest (now 22years old) I tried biting back, flicking, yelling, scolding, time outs, crying, etc... nothing worked. I didn't have the education or the support back then like I do now. I was so frustrated with his biting I tried it all, I thought...

Then years later with all my reading and education ( have become a Special Education Teacher) I found new ways to deal with this. It is VERY normal for many children to go through this stage. And it's over quickly if you can stay calm and work through it. It's hard for us but kindness and firmness will help you succeed faster. Stay consistent and try NOT to get emotional. (easier said than done I know.)

I have read many books and attended many parenting courses, professional workshops etc to learn this over 19 years of Child Development Research and hands on learning. I now have 2 more boys ages 3 and 2. I have come a long way. I used these techniques when they went through the biting stage and let me tell you it totally worked and their 'biting stage' was short lived and we made it through with their good self esteem and my sanity!

Here goes: Take this all with a grain of salt.

1. Biting is NOT a misbehaviour in most cases, but a lack of skills.
Children bite when frustrated, hungry, tired, upset, or exploring... yes exploring.

2. Children may bite as a game. They don't understand what they are doing.

3. Do not bite back. Hurting a child does not help her learn to stop hurting others.

4. Intervene quickly when disputes begin between your 'biter' and other children. Supervision is the key here until this temperary behaviour stops.

5. Watch your baby closely for a few days.
Every time you 'see her ready to bite, remove her from the situation and say, "It is not ok to bite people. It is ok to bite on this."
Give her a teether. (if child can talk or communicate ask them to use their words instead of biting.) They may not get what your saying but they will understand your actions and your 'emotion' behind it.

What worked for me was to watch carefully when Geran bit. I noticed it was always near bedtime or when he was hungry. I had snacks in place and put his bedtime up 15min earlier. This helps a bit.

He also bit when he was frustrated. I had teethers everywhere and was quick to pass one off to him as a 'stress relief' when he got frustrated. I taught him the sign for HELP as well. I would say, "You look frustrated, did you want some HELP?" Or sometimes I just picked him up and walked into another room and hugged him. Sometimes they just need some love.

I would suggest watching and writing down how and when she is biting and how often. See if you can find a pattern, then you can 'plan ahead' to try and intervene.

With Nashville, he would bite a bit after nursing. I had to 'sense his cue' when he was done before he bit. When he did bite. I immediately put him on the floor (firmly but kindly) and signed and said, HURT, no biting. I would leave the room for 1 minute. This worked quickly.

Redirect her energy if she is biting because of 'over stimulation' or boredom'

Distract her with other toys, people, outside, remove from the room she was in if the biting seems 'out of nowhere'

Supervision... watch when she bites and try to find out what may be the cause.

When she does bite -react right away, remove from the situation. If she hurts you, show her the bit, show her how to get the ice and put it on 'mommy's arm' and how it hurts, how to rub it to make it better. Give her love and tell her you forgive her and to 'be gentle with mommy. STAY CALM and remain firm and kind.

I know how overwhelming it can be. A great books you can get is Positive Discipline for under 3. It helped me a lot or the A-Z 1001 tips on what to do when.