Sunday, March 27, 2011

The First Principle of Discipline

We will devote the next two months to talking about behavior and discipline for young children. As a starting point I will share with you the seven principles of discipline. Last Friday, on WLDY’s talkline program, I outlined these principles. I will discuss them in detail for you in this column. If you have any specific questions about behavior or discipline, I hope you will ask by letter, email, or telephone. If you have a question about some aspect of behavior, you can be sure that many parents, grandparents, and childcare providers have the same question and would appreciate hearing a discussion about it.

The first principle of discipline is to tell children what you want them to do as opposed to what you don’t want them to do. This sounds simple and common sense, but I would suggest to you that if you pay attention to what you are saying to your children, you will find it to be much more difficult than what you would expect.

To help you understand this better, I will first tell you a little about how our brains remember what we hear. If you are asked to recall what you remember of a long sentence that was spoken, you would most easily remember the last few words of the sentence. Thus, if you say to your child, “Only mommy and daddy can load the DVD player–please don't touch it,” the most significant words for your child are the last two, touch it. This is of course, the very last thing you want your two-year-old to do!

A better direction for your young child would be to say, “Here are three good programs. Which one would you like mommy to put on for you?”

Next time your two-year-old has poured the milk out of his cup onto his high chair tray, stop and think how you can phrase this in a way that tells him what he should do with his milk instead of what he shouldn’t do. If you practice doing this, you will be practicing the first principle of good discipline. 


I know a little pussy
Her coat is silver gray
She lives down in the meadow
Not very far away
She’ll always be a pussy
She’ll never be a cat!
For she’s a pussywillow
Now what do you think of that!
Meow, Meow, Meow, Meow, Meow, Meow, Meow, Meow, SKAT!

Each line of the song is a step up the musical scale. Each “Meow” is a step down the musical scale ending with a spoken, “SKAT”

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Free Toads for Earth Day!

Here we are in the first week of spring. We would like to think it's all warm weather and sunny days but as I write the rain is falling, it is windy, and still very chilly outside. But on the bright side as I drove into town I noticed children and families outside taking walks, riding bikes, and even throwing a football around.

The first thing I think about in spring when I think about getting children outside is to go hunt for the first pussy willows of spring. If you live in the country, it is a great time to take a walk and look for pussy willows. I would also suggest that when you do this that you take a garbage bag with you and teach your young child about taking care of the environment.

I have a lovely drive home from Ladysmith. However, as the snow line recedes, I see bits of trash, bottles and cans, and discarded food wrappers. Every year since I've lived in Ladysmith my husband and I have walked along this road, picking up these discards. As we walk, we try to think of reasons that someone would roll down the window and throw out trash upon our beautiful road. We've never found a reason, but only felt sadness at what is left behind.

For those of you who value the environment and the beauty of where we live in northern Wisconsin, I would like to continue a project that I started last year to celebrate Earth Day. Please go out into your community or along your roads with your young child and teach them your values. Bring along a few garbage bags and some rubber gloves. Help them collect the trash along the way. Take a picture of your children with the bags of trash they have collected. Mail the picture to me along with the names of your children and permission to use their names and possibly the picture in this column. Send it so I can receive it before April 22, Earth Day.

In the column that appears on April 28, I will let you know where you can pick up your musical croaking toad and the Toads Environmental Song for your child as a thank you gift from me.

Toads Environmental Song
Tune: If You’re Happy and You Know It
If you see some paper trash, pick it up! (croak-croak)
If you see some plastic trash, pick it up! (croak-croak)
You will help the little toads by putting garbage where it goes.
Please help the little toads, pick it up! (croak-croak)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thank-you to all for a great party!

Everyone had a great time at the Dr. Seuss birthday party this past Saturday. I was grateful to meet and talk to so many involved parents, uncles, grandparents, and even one great grandparent! On behalf of the Children’s Council of Rusk County, I would like to thank you all for coming and sharing a few hours of play with us.

I would also like to thank Ruth Meszaros of the Friends of the Library for managing the children’s free book table and to thank the ‘Friends’ for donating free books to the children at our party. The volunteering they do to manage the donations of books and the staffing of the Booktique have brought thousands of dollars to our library over the many years they have existed. It is a wonderful organization of book lovers who want to share their love of books with others. The Booktique is an example of recycling at its best. I hope you will stop often when you visit the library and buy a book or two for less than the cost of a cup of coffee.

The Children’s Council of Rusk County is a group of volunteer advocates for young children. We are parents, grandparents, childcare providers, elementary principals, and Head Start and preschool teachers and staff. We typically meet once per year to plan the Dr. Seuss party, to choose a ‘Champion of the Young Child’, and to plan a children’s concert during the Week of the Young Child. If you are interested in joining our ranks, we would love to have you be part of these activities.

This year’s Dr. Seuss party people included Lucy Taylor and her lovely daughter who made hats and manned the registration table. Lucy’s husband Shawn is very much like the Cat in the Hat (He always sweeps up the messes after the fun.) Karen Sarauer ran the fishing game at McElligot’s Pool. Mary Joslin, fearless leader of the Council, led the cut and paste table. Cindy Gillett, played play-dough with our young friends and watched over the blue sand in the sand table. Behind the scenes, Karlene Gordon prepared playdoh and brought the table with the sand and toys. Michelle Wurzer brought manipulatives for children to create structures and Darcy Dent helped children learn to make an origami boat or fish. Lenore Krajewski helped children with giant floor puzzles and then served cake with the Cat in the Hat, alias Bonnie Gunderson. The photo is Lenore with Darcy’s daughter, Timber.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

An Invitation to Dr. Seuss's Birthday Party

Do your children love the fun of birthday parties? Do they love the wonderful imaginative stories of Dr. Seuss? Of course they do, so we have a great opportunity for your family this Saturday, March 12 in the lower level of the library from 10:30 to 12:00. Here is your family’s invitation for fun at the Dr. Seuss birthday party.

Said Thing One to Thing Two,
“My books are OLD. They’re old and I’m big.
I’ve gotten too big for my books! They are old.”

“Then why don’t you come!” said the Cat in the Hat,
“To the Seuss Birthday Party. Just think about that!
Come to the party, the BIG birthday party,
Come to his party at the library in March.”

“If you come we’ll have fun--we’ll have fun that is funny!
And maybe you’ll see a NEW book that you’ll like!
A book that was old for someone who’s bigger.”

“But for YOU it is NEW!” said the Cat in the Hat.
“Yes! This is good!” said Thing One to Thing Two.”

March 12, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Rusk County Library Lower Level

Come and meet the Cat in the Hat, make your own hat, hear stories and make books, catch a blue fish and eat birthday cake.  Be sure to bring your favorite grownup!