*** Why am I doing a page soley on discipline? This seems to be a subject which is often overlooked or if it is mentioned at all, it is done briefly. People tend to shy away from discussing 'problems.' Yet discipline plays a major part of my day, especially being a daycare provider. I don't believe that discipline is punishing a child, I believe it is a means of teaching them. I also believe children want to be disciplined. That they feel secure in the knowledge that their caregivers are setting boundaries for them in their young lives.
*** There's no doubt about the fact that daycare and parenting are very stressful. Despite all of the joys and rewards of being with children daily, it is often very "trying" and tiring to work with little ones. It takes lots of patience and self-control. I believe EVERYONE should have to take parenting classes before becoming a parent and/or a daycare provider.
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*** I'm not going to elaborate on the stresses stemming from the fact that child care is such a low-paid profession. I think most people would agree this is true. I also think most daycare providers would say they love children and that's why they do this job - not for the money. At least this is certainly true for me.
*** But I'm drifting away from the subject - ah yes, discipline! Before I go any further, let me say that this page is solely my opinion and what I personally believe works. I have attended many discipline-related workshops over the years. I have grown children of my own and I provided child care for children from ages 4 weeks to 13 years for over 24 years. All of the ideas I have expressed here have come from information gained from these workshops and from personal experience. I have to add that I watch Dr. Phil and think he's got some of the most sound child-rearing and relationship advice to be found out there.
*** I view discipline as a means of teaching children, not a form of punishment. Children need discipline - I will go as far as to say that they even like it. Of course they will never admit this to you, but all the same when they act up - they are telling you - please set limits so I know what is right and wrong. Children aren't born knowing how to behave, it is up to us to teach them.
*** The two most important things for us to remember as parents and caregivers are consistency and follow-through. If you change the rules frequently the child will become confused. He may even feel it is a game to see what will happen the next time he breaks the rule. If you don't follow through with your "threats" the child will quickly learn that you do not mean what you say. Do not say, "Timothy, if you ask me one more time for candy, we will leave the store" without being prepared to actually leave! So be prepared to follow through on what you tell your children. This type of thing is heard frequently in stores, amusement parks, friend's homes, the library, everywhere! How many parents do you suppose actually get up and leave? Not too many - I suppose if the child knows you mean what you say, you won't have this problem to contend with in the first place. Here's something you can do - set the child up for failure (yes, I said that!!) Take him somewhere he likes expressly for the purpose to leave! State the rules before or on the way there - "If you scream (choose a behavior your child has a problem with - one you know will happen) - in the grocery store we will have to go home." To help the situation along, be sure to have some enticing items in your cart! Items your child really wants. So sure enough, little Timothy will undoubtedly scream in the grocery store. When he does this, you calmly pick him up, abandon your cart, and leave. Timothy is sure to take quite a fit, just stay calm and when HE is calm you can remind him of the rules and DROP the subject. Tell him you will try again another time. It may only take one time for Timothy to realize his screaming will mean you will leave or it may take a few times. Be consistent! That is key.
*** Here is a personal pet peeve of mine - Parents talk TOO much!! We don't have to go on and on explaining ourselves to our children and/or trying to get them to cooperate by saying things like 'don't you want to see daddy,' 'if you can calm down we will go to the park,' etc. Stop talking during the tantrum!! In the first place they can't hear you, in the second place it is not what the child wants.
The child wants you to set limits for him/her. Better to say "that's the rule and I'm not willing to discuss it any further at this time" and walk away! Pick up your child and carry him/her out if you need to. When you stay and "talk" to the child, it is giving him/her attention. Attention is not a bad thing, it is just that you do not want to reward 'bad' behavior with attention, it leads to the same type thing happening all over again at a later time. Discuss these behavioral problems at a "good" time. Let the child in on the problem-solving. You'll be amazed at the wonderful, workable ideas they come up with that we often don't think of.
*** There are so many rules in our lives - we all have them. Children need rules to learn how to function in this society. It is important to remember not to go overboard with rules - choose what is most important to you and work on that. If Timothy picks his nose, maybe you should let that slide and concentrate on more important issues like his habit of pushing other children. Not to say we have to allow the nose-picking, but solve the larger issues first. Don't overwhelm your child with too many rules.
*** I hate to say "no" all the time! But I do have to do it and I believe children need to learn what this word means at a very young age. It is OK to tell a crawling 8-month-old "no" and remove him from a dangerous situation. Just try to eliminate a lot of the need for "no." Fix wires so they are not accessible to the baby - move knickknacks up high so you don't need to say "no." One thing that is very effective in stopping the use of too many "no's" is to replace NO with YES! It is a simple thing to do, here is an example: Timothy says "I want ice cream." But he hasn't eaten any of his lunch and you don't allow treats if he hasn't eaten his healthy food. Instead of saying "NO," say "YES, Timothy you sure may have some ice cream just as soon as you eat your lunch." I've found this to be very effective with my own children as well as my daycare children.
*** Most recently I've been very interested in using the 1-2-3 Magic method of disciplining. And also Love and Logic. Here are some useful websites with more information about these 2 programs: