In today’s blog, we will be talking about fall transitions. I know, I hear you thinking, already time to transition to fall? Fall does not start September 22nd this year. However, each year as August draws to a close, I hear the challenges families face with adjustments to bedtime routines, morning struggles, packing lunches, and catching the bus for school or out the door to baby sign language. I want to see your family have less stress leading to a wonderful day!
I wanted to discuss with you the importance of routines as well as setting kind AND firm limits. These are just two Positive Discipline Parenting tools which can be implemented with many other that parents learn in a 6 week journey. Both of these tools will assist families in creating a more calm transition in their fall activities. And trust me, we will be re-doing our routine charts (and focus on agreements in advance) plus, being consistent with kind AND firm as we transition Mr E to kindergarten, Miss K to daycare and myself attending classes with our newborn!
Does anyone have a routine chart? Routine charts are vastly different from reward charts. They encourage capacity and foster independence! Plus, when children are involved they feel a sense of empowerment. These are all amazing long-terms characteristics and skills to foster while addressing the frustrations of morning and/or bedtime struggles. My favorite bonus of the chart is that as a parent the chart becomes “boss”. The chart shows what they can decide to do next.
When starting a routine chart, have a brain storming session with your child about what needs to be done. For instance, brushing teeth, getting dressed, and putting away jackets/backpacks. During this brain storming session write down everything both of you can think of, even if this is eating candy or watching TV. Afterwards, it is time for creating the chart with what you decide to be added in a kind and firm way. This is part of the decision making process as well as using a tool called agreement in advance. Once this the tasks are set, then it is time to make a chart!!
There are many times of charts. Some are focused on a direct step process, and other are more lose and allows a child to decide what to do next. We had one that was built on a circle concept, which allowed Mr E to decide what he would do next.
I know, that I mentioned above to involve the children in this process. However, I am going to encourage each one of you to create a routine chart to use with your children. Even if this means you create and show your child/ren with excitement!
I cannot wait to see your routine charts. Here is a picture of Mr. E and his dad making a routine chart together. We decided to have a flap that would flip down when a task was finished! Mr. E loved this feature as he was able to see what was left with a quick glance.
The second Positive Discipline Parenting tool I wanted to discuss today is the concept of kind AND firm. This pillar can be challenging for some parents, and that is okay! Everyone tends to gravitate to being kind or firm in various situations. In parenting, I lean towards being more firm and am practicing being more kind in my daily parenting. Remember that kindness without firmness can lead to permissive parenting and firmness without kindness can lead to punitive parenting. With the AND we are able to become kind AND firm together. Let me share more!
Since today we are talking about transitions, I am going to pick a task that creates a lot of conflict and this is brushing teeth. The use of AND keeps the task kind AND firm “I know you don’t want to brush your teeth AND we can do it together”. Another idea is offering a choice, “Teeth need to be cleaned. Do you want to brush or me, you decide”. Or perhaps we can provide information and problem solving, “What needs to be done to keep our teeth white?”.
Keep in mind that there are many tools which fall under the kind AND firm parenting concept. I provided numerous examples of these tools in the above example of brushing teeth. However, let’s break them down even more.
- Validate Feelings
- Showing Understanding
- Distraction and Redirection
- Follow Through
- Agree in Advance
- Provide a Choice
I would love to hear from you about transitioning to fall! I hope that you found at least one parenting tool that can be worked on in the next 2 weeks until school or programs start!
Remember, I will be back teaching with our newborn starting at the end of October. I am teaching baby sign language Level I classes starting October 31 at 11am (hurry 2 spaces remaining), and 1:15 pm and Level II at noon. Our Positive Discipline Parenting class will start on November 7 at 6:30pm.
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With you in your parenting journey,