Sunday, May 29, 2011

Principles of Discipline #7

The seventh and last principle of discipline is one that extremely simple to understand and at the same time is extremely difficult to implement. Set a good example. Speak and act only in the ways you want children to speak and act.
Discipline comes from the word disciple, which means to follow. Children become socialized in our culture by following our example. The importance of parents as models for children cannot be overstated.
This final principle of good discipline is at the heart of any discussion of how parents can achieve good discipline. This is all about relating to our children in ways we ourselves want to be treated by others including our own children. In the first 18 years, your child is busy being a child, a disciple of your behavior, watching you and storing patterns of your behavior to use when he or she becomes an adult. You are the parent, the role model, the source of your child’s learning. When you have an adult child and when you watch your child parenting your grandchild, you will have a window into your own previous behavior as a parent and you will see the kind of role model you were.
However, if you are very fortunate, you may have a very special moment before that time where you can glimpse into the future and see how well you are doing today.


Little earthworm in the ground
Quietly working, not a sound.
Little earthworm
What do you do?
I help the soil and plants for you.

Use index finger to move like an earthworm. 
Bring finger to lips to indicate quietly.  Sign “help” 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Principles of Discipline #6

We have discussed the first five Principles of Discipline:  (1) Tell children what they can do instead of what they can’t do. (2) Protect and preserve children’s feelings that they are lovable and capable. (3) Offer children choices only when you are willing to abide by their decisions. (4) Change the environment instead of the behavior, and (5) Work with children instead of against them.
Today we discuss principle number six: Give children safe limits they can understand. Recognize their feelings without accepting their actions. Maintain your authority calmly and consistently. We need to state rules very simply for young children and we need to follow through on requiring our little ones follow the rules. A good rule would be, “you may not use mommy’s scissors. Here are the scissors you can use. (give your preschooler safety scissors designed for little hands) If your child persists in trying to get to your scissors, you need to move them out of reach and reaffirm the rule about the scissors she can use.
Children need to trust that adults will take care of them by having rules such as this and by enforcing the rules.  If you waiver and allow your child to get away with using the wrong scissors, he will work even harder to bend the rules next time, perhaps for something more serious.


Pretty little dandelion
Yellow, yellow flower mine
When your head turns into seeds
Puffy white
Puff, puff, puff
Blow in the breeze!

Sign “yellow” , Blow instead of speaking  the words, “puff, puff, puff.”

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Principles of Discipline #5

We have discussed the first four Principles of Discipline:  (1) Tell children what they can do instead of what they can’t do. (2) Protect and preserve children’s feelings that they are lovable and capable. (3) Offer children choices only when you are willing to abide by their decisions. (4) Change the environment instead of the behavior.
Today we discuss principle number five: Work with children instead of against them. Have you every heard a woodworker talk about sanding with the grain of the wood? This is the very concept we can apply to working with young children. The challenge for us is to stand back and observe what the child is trying to do and then finding mutually acceptable ways they can accomplish their goal.
A fourteen month old loves to dump objects out of containers. They are learning about the physical attributes of the container and how it can hold objects. They need to practice this over and over again. Dumping oatmeal out of the Quaker Oats box is wonderful for the child, but not acceptable to those of us who need to make oatmeal for breakfast.
Try instead to find an old Quaker Oats box and put five to ten blocks or large popbeads inside. Learning to pull the cover off and dumping these should be perfectly acceptable both to the child and to the cook, especially if the cook finds a moment to sit on the floor with the child and count the blocks as they are dropped back in. How fun to have mom’s or dad’s attention and to be learning the language of counting to five or ten.
Most three year olds are not yet wired to sit still for very long. Instead of requiring and redirecting them to sit for books at storytime, use some active nursery rhymes that have jumping, crawling, or rolling as part of circle time.
Both of these are strategies that work with the grain of the child.

Jack in the Pulpit

There stands a little man in the deep dark woods
He stands there on one leg in the deep dark woods
Do you know him standing there
Silently without a care
Do you see him standing in the deep, dark woods?

He stands there on one leg, bending to and fro
And all that he can do is to stand and grow
Do you know him standing there
Silently without a care
Do you see him standing in the deep, dark woods?

This song is from “Hansel and Gretel”

Drawing by Grandpa Glenn Bedward, 2011 award recipient, Champion of the Young Child

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hunting For Trash

    Late Wednesday afternoon, I was driving home from Ladysmith. I live along a beautiful Wisconsin country road, wooded in places with low lands and swamp along other stretches. Each spring I hold my breath as the snow recedes, hoping fellow travelers along this road value it’s beauty and store their own trash and garbage--little bits of cellophane candy wrappers, empty cigarette packages, leftover fast food wrappers and bottles in their cars to be disposed of in the trash when they come home.
I was particularly hopeful in the beginning because Tony and I had scoured the mile and a half into town last year. We went out each nice day for about two weeks in April and May and came home with a feeling of accomplishment. There was not one piece of trash on the road when we finished! I felt very proud of our work and stopped each time, not without a degree of irritation, when I would see a new piece of just thrown out garbage on my nice clean road.
I lost all hope as the snow vanished. There, just as last year, the debris of disposable paper cups, bottles, and cigarettes appeared everywhere as if to taunt me, saying, “You can’t stop us! Nobody cares enough.”
But with renewed commitment, I was out last week, this time armed with bags and gloves and an ATV to haul it all. As I picked up the trash, I daydreamed about the signs I could put up. Since I am fond of toads, I thought of one slogan, “Toads don’t litter.” Then I thought of another--a play on words, “Only Pigs Litter.” While chuckling to myself about the humor of that, Dennis Weimer, came jogging back from a run. He stopped to tell me about the bags and bags of trash he and Cheryl had collected along another favorite road. Hurray Dennis! In my opinion, this qualifies for sainthood.
But I started to tell you about last Wednesday. As I rounded a curve in the road I saw a new neighbor with her two sons and their dog. They weren’t just taking a walk. They were picking up trash, picking up trash on my beautiful country road! The boys, Hunter and Cole were wearing disposable gloves and finding every last piece of garbage along that stretch of road. I was overjoyed to see a parent, Wendy Strop, taking the time at the end of a busy day to teach her sons how to value and cherish the land we live on. Prayers answered; we do live in God’s country.
Like Dennis and Cheryl, Wendy, Cole, and Hunter; I am going to continue to keep my little corner of the world clear of trash and be optimistic again about my fellow travelers, hoping that today’s story touches someone like you who I will meet next year along a beautiful country road, teaching your children, as Wendy is teaching hers, to cherish and care for the land we live on.
Cole, Wendy, and Hunter Strop—Hunting for Trash