Monday, January 16, 2012

Positive Time Out for young children (PART 4)

One common parenting tool deserves special attentions.
If you've ever heard a parent say to a toddler " I've had it ! Go to time out and think about what you did"
Most parents use something called Time Out, but few really understand what it is or how best to use it with young children.

Positive time - out can be an effective way of helping both child and parent calm down enough to solve problems together when both are rational.
Time out is an appropriate parenting tool when it's positive and NOT PUNITIVE, and is used to teach, encourage and soothe.

Time Out is not effective with children under three years old.
Why ? They do not have maturity and judgement to make logical decisions.
Supervision and distraction are the most effective parenting tools for those age.
Young children often can read the energy of your feelings and understand that you want something. But they don't understand the logic of your arguments in the way you think they do.

Children do better when they feel better.
For young children, they can benefit from an opportunity "cool off" if you go with them.
The positive time out will help children feel better not to make them feel bad in the hope that feeling bad will inspire them to do better.

Parent's attitude is the key. 
One of the silliest things parents say to children when using punitive time out is
" You think about what you did and how bad you have been "
This is a silly think to say because of the assumption that adults can control what children will think about.
It's especially silly to think that young children bellow three have the kind of reasoning ability to think about what they did and know what they should do instead.
And do you really want your children to start developing beliefs that they are bad ?

At this point in their young lives, children need lots of guidance without expectation that they will be able to absorb and use what they are learning until their brains are more fully developed and gain more maturity and judgement.

Create Calming space
If you decide to try positive time out with your little one, create a safe, comfortable area where you can go together.
Remember, you're not punishing her, you're helping her to feel better that leads to cooperation.
This is not rewarding misbehavior either. It's understanding that children do better when they feel better.
For eg reading the book together or listen to music until we feel better.

No parenting tool works all the time
Be sure to have more than just time out in your toolbox. Filling your parenting toolbox with healthy, non punitive alternatives such as distraction will help you avoid the temptation to punish when your child challenges you and he undoubtedly will !

Always remember your child's development and capabilities.
Understanding what is and is not age appropriate behavior will help you not to expect things that are beyond the ability of your child.

Friday, January 13, 2012

What makes your child unique ? (PART 3)

When the baby doesn't fuss very often, sleep peacefully through the night, take long naps, eats her food without spitting out and can happily entertain herself, we will say "what a good baby"
Does this mean that all babies who don't fit this description are "bad" ?

Each child is born with a unique personalities and unique style of processing and responding the world around her.
While attitudes, behavior, decisions may change with time and experience, our temperament appears to be part of us for life.
Although some temperaments are "easier" than others, none are good or bad, right or wrong, they are just different. Understanding them will help you work with her to learn, to grow and to thrive.

The nine temperaments are

1. Activity level
The level of motor activity and the proportion of active and inactive periods.
For eg an infant with high activity may kick and splash so much in his bath, while a low activity infant can turn over but doesn't choose to do so.
If your kid has a HIGH activity level, you will want to provide lots of opportunities for safe exploration and play. He may need some activity play before settling down to focus on a task.
If your kid has a LOW activity level, you need to invite them to go exploring with bright toys, interesting noises.

2. Rhythmicity
Refers the predictability of biological function, such as hunger, sleeping, bowel movements.
One infant might have one bowel movement daily in the morning, while other infant's schedule seems different each day. One child might eat her biggest meal at lunch, while another prefers dinner or small meals but often.
Understanding this will help you build effective routine for everyday life together and will allow you to see these differences as part of her personality rather than as misbehavior or lack of cooperation

3. Approach of Withdrawal
Describes the way a child reacts to a new situation or stimulus such as new food, toy, person or place.
Approach responses often displayed by mood expression (smilling, facial expression) or motor activity (swallowing a new food, reaching a new toy).
Withdrawal responses look more negative and are expressed by mood (crying, fussing, facial expression) or motor activity (moving away, spitting food out or pushing a new toy or person)

Your child's ability to feel comfortable with the world around him is part of his inborn personality. If your little one take longer to adjust, you can look for small steps to help him adjust to change and new situations without taking his reaction personally.

4. Adaptability
Describes how a child reacts to a new situation over time - her ability to adjust and change.
Some kids initially spit out a new food but accept it after a few trial tastes. Others accept new things far more slowly.
It's tempting to try to force your child to adapt to your busy schedule. But wise parents learn to adjust their schedules to their child's adaptability. It's true that you may not get all your errands done on any given day, but isn't it more important to have a cheerful and calm child ?

5. Sensory Threshold
The level of sensitivity to sensory input varies from one child to other and affects how they behave and view the world.
Some may wake up from a nap every time a door opens no matter how softly, while others can sleep through a carnival.
Does your child like noise and music or does he become fussy ? Will he eat new foods od does he spit out unusual tastes or textures ?
IF your child is more sensitive to stimulation, you wil need to go slowly when introducing new toys, new experiences and new people.

6. Quality of mood
Have you ever noticed how some children and adults react to life with pleasure and acceptance, while others can find fault with everything and everybody ?
One baby might favor her family with smile and coos, while another feels compelled to cry a bit.
Be sensitive to their mood, as he grows, help him to see the world for the lovely place it is.
IF your baby beams a happy face to the world, enjoy the gift and take moment to savor the day

7. Intensity of Reactions
Children often respond to events around them in different ways.
Some smile or merely take a look, then go back to what they were doing ; others react with action and emotion.
Some wear their hearts, they giggle and shriek with laughter when happy and throw impressive tantrums when angry.

8. Distractibility
Refers to the way in which an outside stimulus interferes with a child's present behavior and his willingness to be diverted.
Some kid do their own activity without noticing anything else in the room, some baby will stop nursing when there's people walk pass, some kid can't concentrate on eating when the whole family is at the table and need to be feed ahead of the rest of the family.
Distraction and redirection are two most common and effective methods for managing the behavior of young children.

Rather than becoming frustrated about your child's distractibility, look for ways to make her environment safe and easy to explore and recognize and accept her inborn temperament.

9. Persistence and Attention Span
Persistence refers to a child's willingness to pursue an activity in the face of obstacles or difficulties
Attention span refers to the length of time he will pursue an activity without interruption.
Both are usually related.
A toddler who is content to play puzzle for half an hour at a time has a fairly long attention span, while another who plays with ten different toys in ten minutes or less has a short one.

No combination is necessarily better than another, they're simply different and present different challenges in parenting and teaching
Understanding a child's temperament helping a child develop acceptable behavior and skills through patience, encouragement, kind and firm teaching.
For eg, a child with short attention span will still need to learn to accept some structure.
Besides, an understanding of temperament can help you and your kid adjust and create a better fit.

Even with understanding and the best intentions, most parents struggle occasionally with the children's temperaments. You may lack patience or get hooked into reacting to behavior instead of acting thoughtfully.
Awareness and understanding do not mean we become perfect. However, once you have had time to cool off, you need to resolve it with your children.
It's important to help children work for IMPROVEMENT not PERFECTION

Getting into your children's world (PART 2)

One of the first and most important challenges in parenting is understanding what his world looks and feel like.

From the moment of birth onward, a child's early months and years are a voyage of discovery and one of the first things a child must discover is himself. Infant develops the large muscles first and followed by fine motor skills and balance control.

A Child learns about the world by Doing
A child who is "playing" is actually hard at work, trying on new roles and ideas, tasting, touching, smelling and experimenting with life. It takes a while before children learn where the boundaries lie. Some will accept those boundaries while others will continuously puss them.

A Child's Birth Order affects how she sees the world
Each child born into your family experiences a different family configuration. When there are more people, more siblings plus the adult or adults have probably grown or changed in some way.
Another factor affecting birth order is the presence of the siblings. The first born may get the things he want when he's the only one, but when his younger sibling comes into the family, he may need to wait to get things he want.

The older child who suddenly begins misbehaving when her new baby sibling is being fussed over is easy to understand. Whatever the behavior, taking into account the effect of a child's birth order can help you make sense of child's misbehavior.

A Child's developmental need to explore and experiment
Any self respecting child will feel obliged to cruise up to the boundaries you've set and test them occasionally. He's not deliberately trying to drive you insane, he's either exploring at his age- appropriate level or learning about consistency and whether or not adults mean what they say.
Often adults fail to realize that they simply can't reason with a toddler and spend more time talking than acting.

Repeated warning isn't terribly effective ; kind, firm action would be more helpful.
He is a mad scientist using his hands, mouth and imperfect coordination to determine the marvelous world around him.
The real tasks as a parent are prevention, vigilance and very quick reflexes

A Child's physical size and abilities have a strong influence on behavior
Take a moment sometime soon and put your face on the same level as your child's. What do you see ?
The world looks a lot different from down there !
A child's world shimmers with delightful, distracting images, sounds and textures.
The best way to be sure a tiny person realizes that you are talking to her is to make eye contact and speak directly.

It can be frustrating for the children and the parents themselves when children won't quite do the tasks they are expected to do. This doesn't create a positive atmosphere where learning can take place.
How adults feel if everything they tried was a little beyond their ability to succeed and they were criticized for the efforts they made ?

A child's concepts of reality and fantasy are different from those of an adult
Fantasy is a child's way of getting in touch with feelings for which he doesn't yet have words, a way of exploring his own inner being. Careful listening and acceptance by his parents will help him to understand his feelings.

You and your child will benefit greatly if you learn all you can about growth and development. It's also important to know your own child well. And eventually, you must learn to trust your innate wisdom as a parent.

Next topic : What makes your child unique ?
There are nine temperaments that you can examine which your kid's temperament is and this will lead you how to handle them

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Positive Discipline Principles (PART 1)

What is Discipline ?
Positive Discipline is different from conventional discipline and it's effective since children birth till age three.
Babies and toddlers need non-punitive discipline that enhances their development - not blame, pain and shame.
Punishment may seem to "work" in the short term. But over time, it creates rebellion, resistance and children won't believe in their own worth.

But it worked for my parents before, What am I supposed to do?
If you are screaming, yelling, or lecturing, STOP. If you are spanking, STOP. If you are trying to gain compliance through threats, warnings and lectures, STOP.
All these methods are disrespectful and encourage doubt, shame and guilt now and in the future. Punishment creates more misbehavior.

Children don't listen when they are busy feeling scared, hurt or angry. When children felt threatened, they go into a defensive mode. It may look like compliance, rebellion or anything in between because they needs to regain his sense of belonging and significance. Misbehavior "works" to regain parent's attention and involvement even it that attention is negative.

How should I implement positive discipline?
1. Get children involved in the creation of routine, by giving them several acceptable choices and providing opportunities to help
2. Teach respect by being respectful
3. Use your sense of humor
4. Get into your child's world
5. If you say it, mean it and if you mean it, follow through with kind and firm action
6. Be patient
7. Provide lots of supervision, distraction and redirection.
8. Accept your child's uniqueness

Discipline with very young children is mostly about deciding what you will do than with what you expect your child to do.
The positive discipline will help you build a relationship of love and respect with your children and will help you live and solve problems together for many years to come.

Next Topic : Getting to know your own children
In order to make positive discipline effective and successful, parents need to know their own children well, their temperamental, personalities, and their needs.