Monday, April 18, 2011

Principles of Discipline #4

I would like to remind you to send the "picking up trash" photo this week with your name, your telephone or email address, and your child’s first name for our ‘pick up the trash’ musical toad give-a-way. My email is and my telephone number is 715-532-3209. I will contact you with how you can receive your musical toad. I need your submission by this Friday, April 22nd.
We are on to the fourth principle of discipline: Change the environment instead of the behavior. There many times when a challenging behavior can be eliminated just by changing the way the environment is set up. For instance, what happens when you give a two-year-old a full glass of milk--in a tall, skinny glass? What are the chances that your table and floor come away unscathed?
What can you do change the environment without saying a single word to the child? You can put the milk into a shorter cup with a wide sturdy bottom. While you're at it, you a can also fill the cup only half full or less. Pouring less milk into the cup than you think your child will drink also builds in more practice at a conversation by giving you both something to chat about. I would also guess your little one will consume more milk this way.
Here is another example: Your eighteen-month-old grabs your six-year-old's hair with his sticky fingers at supper. Your daughter screams and the toddler laughs. He reaches again for another fist full of hair and in so doing knocks his plate of spaghetti to the floor. How do you prevent this calamity from occurring? (hint: change the environment!)

The sun comes up
with its great big smile

And shines on the ground
for just a little while.

It warms up the flowers
that are planted below

And helps them to grow
and grow and grow.

Pantomime motions

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Principles of Discipline #3

We will talk about the third principle of discipline in today’s column: Offer children choices only when you are able to abide by their choice. The reason behind this principle of discipline is that children take us very seriously when we ask them or tell them something.
For example, if you are running late in the morning and only have time for Cheerios or toast and peanut butter, you should offer your child those specific choices. “Would you like Cheerios or toast and peanut butter for breakfast?” You'll run into trouble if you ask, “What would you like for breakfast?”
Here's another example. Which scenario could give a difficult start to the morning when the dirty laundry is piling up? “What do you want to wear today?” Or, “do you want to wear your blue jeans or sweatpants today?”
Why do we give children choices that we don't really mean? Sometimes, it could be because we are not clear in our own minds of what choices we can live with. Other times, it could be because we want to treat them as if they are older and more capable. When you are at the home of a friend who you know very well, and your friend asks you, “what would you like to drink?” You take into consideration what you believe they have at home to offer before answering. You are an adult who can take another person's perspective and knowledge about that person before making a decision. Young children do not operate that way. They take what we say at face value.
This week, when you take a walk with your child to pick up trash along the roadside I would suggest asking these kinds of questions: “Would you like to wear the yellow gloves or the pink gloves to pick up garbage with me? Do you want to pull the wagon or carry the bag? Where should we take the picture of you working hard? (Then remember to send the photo to me with your name and telephone number and I will contact you with information on where to pick up your wooden musical toad!

(tune: Frere Jacques)

It is springtime
It is springtime
Flowers grow
Flowers grow
Sometimes it is windy
Sometimes it is raining
It is spring
It is spring.

Sign language for spring, flowers, windy, raining.
Carolyn Lichty, SLP

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Principles of Discipline #2

Last week we started our series on the seven principles of discipline. The first principle of discipline is to tell children what they should do instead of what they shouldn’t do. Today we will discuss second principle of discipline.

I really love doing workshops and talking about the second principle of discipline. This principle states that we must protect and preserve children's feelings that they are lovable and capable. We refer to a person's feelings of being lovable and capable as an IALAC (I am lovable and capable). Your IALAC is a little bit like your spirit. It is your self-esteem. You can't see it but it's an important part of the person that you are.

Our children need big strong IALACs if they are to feel good about their capability to learn and function in the world. It is very much like needing to feel loved before one can give love in return.

IALACs grow or shrink as a result of our experiences in our relationships with other people. Adults hinder or foster the growth of children's IALACs by the way they discipline their children.

Do you remember when you were a young child and you accidentally spilled milk when you were pouring yourself a glass? Did your parents say to you, “Can't you do anything right?” Or did they say, “Help me wipe it up and you can try to pour your milk again.”

Practice building up your child's IALAC this week!

Drip drip drop drop
Drip drip drop
Drip drip drop
Rain on my umbrella
Rain on my umbrella
Never stop
Drip drip drop

(tune:  Frere Jacques)
Pantomime dripping on left and right sides of body to the rhythm.
Sign rain, shake head no