Thursday, September 8, 2011

Disciplined... Part 1

Structure is an essential part of a child's development.  It allows the child to have a sense of predictability and stability which nurtures his sense of security.  Rewards and punishments teach the child about consequences of actions, allowing the child to act after consideration rather than impulsively. Establishing rules and guidelines may be difficult in the beginning, and here are some tips about one aspect of discipline:


Rewards should be immediate.  A reward far off in the future is neither enticing nor motivating.  Children can tolerate and should tolerate waiting, but creating a token system for a future reward is more effective than a verbal promise. (i.e. collecting point, stickers, etc).

For younger children explain very clearly why the reward was given, the more specific you are, the more likely it is that the child will repeat that specific behavior.

Do not assume the child has not learned if s/he does not repeat the rewarded behavior.  Consistency, repetition and persistence are essential, especially when dealing with special needs children.

Use one-on-one rewards when targeting embarrassing or personal goals. (i.e. age inappropriate toilet training, hygiene, relationship problems).   

Try to be creative with your rewards.  Find activities and experiences that you can reward with, rather than focusing on materialistic rewards. For example, 15 minutes of one-on-one play with your child (a game of their choice), allowing them choose their favorite dish for dinner, bake cookies, or make popcorn and watch T.V. together.  For bigger rewards, these could include organizing an outing, having friends over, or allowing them extra privileges.    

Express your love and pride for your child generously

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