Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Raising mindful children with effective gentle discipline
I am a mom of 4 children, and I am bound and determined to get at least one of them to listen to myself and my husband! I have decided to use "gentle discipline" on our youngest. As I have gotten older, I feel that I am able to tolerate more, and its easier for me to "keep my cool" even with a busy household.
If you aren't sure what gentle discipline is, it is basically speaking softly and kindly to your child, while telling him/her "no" and then using positive reinforcement and redirection. By using force (spankings), you are sending them mixed messages. If you are trying to discipline your child for hitting a sibling, why would you spank your child and tell them that its not OK for them to hit their brother or sister? What that little brain is hearing is "Its not ok for you to express yourself through force but its ok for me to hit you". The gentle discipline approach would have you tell your child no, explain why it is not nice to hit, and then if they are of age to speak, you have your child appologize for their actions.
You also cannot discipline a baby, because they are not able to understand their actions. You would just remove them from the situation and place them in a safer spot. You can begin using gentle discipline with toddlers, so as they grow, they become more aware.
Schedules and Routines: If you are anything like me, I love to be on time and keep things scheduled and flowing. I cannot depend on people to wait on me and my family. If we are due to arrive somewhere, I always try to allow at least an hour where I can tell the kids "Ok, we have to leave in an hour, so let's get dressed." Once the kids are dressed, we ask them 1 at a time to brush their teeth. Once teeth are done, then 1 by 1 they go and use the bathroom before getting in the car. By this time we are probably around 20 mins til we have to get in the car, so I have them get their shoes on. By the time they finish monkeying around, it is nearly time to get in the car! Bottom line is, if you can maintain a schedule and be consistant, you make it easier on yourself. Always be sure to call out "5 minutes until we are leaving" so that when its time to walk out the door, they are already forewarned.
Be Blunt: If you want your child to mind you, you have to lay it all out there for them in plain english. If you want them to clean their plate from the table, you need to tell them "Please get your dish and put it into the sink." There is no confusion there. You are telling them specifically what you want them to do. If they do not respond to your command, then prep them with a warning stating that they have 1 more chance, or they lose a privelage (something as simple as no snack after dinner).
Since my daughter is only 1, I have her doing simple tasks, such as bringing me a toy that she has tossed onto the floor so that we can put it away together. Ever since she was able to crawl, she would pick up little pieces of fuzz or whatever she could find on the ground, and put it straight into her mouth. I would say "Ackie! Give that to mama please" and then I would take it out of her mouth. Now when she finds a piece of something on the ground, she picks it up and walks it over to me! Constant repeating has shown her that she shouldn't pick up something from the ground and put it in her mouth. Now, of course she still does put things in her mouth, but she's getting better!
It's never too early to have them clean up their toys!! Once your child is walking, have them help you clean up their toys. When I am cleaning up Emmaleigh's toys, I will point to something and say "Can you hand that to mama please" and she will look all over, all around at everything besides the object that I am wanting. lol But I just point and repeat "Can you get mama that doll over there please?" and she will eventually understand and get it. Then I say "yay! Thank you!" and we clap our hands.

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