We hear about positive guidance strategies as the end all fix to behavior issues.
But what exactly are positive guidance strategies?
How do these actions solve behavior issues for 3 year olds?
How old does a child have to be for any discipline to work?
Can you discipline without shaming your child?
I’ve heard about redirection methodology, but what does it mean exactly?
What discipline strategies work for toddlers?
Whoa. So many questions about what works, and what doesn’t work to modify behaviors for young children. Let’s break it down together.
There are essentially two types of disciplines, those that work and those that don’t. The strategies that we’ve found to work best are positive guidance strategies. The ones that don’t work so well would fall under discipline and punishments.
Positive guidance looks like a calm and collected caretaker facilitating the correct behaviors.
“Let’s stay together at the bathroom.” “We’re going to use walking feet in the hall.” “Use our forks to eat your macaroni.” A class with consistent positive guidance strategies is calm and happy. The children make great choices, and the teacher gets to enjoy their company.
Punishment looks like a caretaker who is overwhelmed and at their limits.
“Stop hitting or you’ll get time out!” “If you run again you’ll have to hold my hand!” “If you use your hands to eat again you’ll be done eating!” When we point out the negatives we suddenly have a group of children who are all copying the negative behaviors, a not so happy group, and a teacher at their limit.
A good distinction is that positive guidance strategies bring you together.
You feel calm and happy, the child doesn’t always feel calm and happy but over time they will adjust. Punishments leave you feeling spent and the child is miserable. Positive guidance strategies works for children of all ages.
This all sounds great in theory, but what about when that one child just keeps pushing your buttons.
You use natural consequences and redirect. Give the child one chance to make better choices. “We’re going to build with the blocks, we don’t want them to hit anyone and hurt them.” If they continue making poor choices we give them the opportunity to make better choices somewhere else “I can see you’re not having much fun here, let’s explore the kitchen or art cabinet instead.” They might need to move from center to center, or find a quiet place to be alone. Allow the child to come back to the center later in the day, they might be ready to make better choices at that time.
If you find yourself feeling frazzled or saying no all day, think about how you can use positive language to make the day more enjoyable.
It can be so hard to catch the children being good and ignore the disruptive behavior. Be forgiving and remember that tomorrow is a new day to try again.