Have you noticed how children behave differently at school than at home? As an independent educator, one of the most common questions I get from parents is on how I get the children to behave. Here are the discipline techniques I’ve learned that work at both school and home.
When parents see their children voluntarily cleaning up the classroom or sharing happily with other kids, I often hear something along these lines:
How do you do that? My son always throws his stuff around at home and doesn’t like sharing toys with his brother! How do you get him to clean up and share here without grumbling and drama?
I am also a mother of six. Over the years, I’ve taken some of the effective classroom discipline techniques and applied them at home—and they’re as effective at home as they are in the classroom.
Today, I’d like to share with you the six secrets of highly effective discipline.
1: Effective Discipline Is Not about Punishment
Discipline comes from the Latin word “disciplinare,” which means, “to teach.” Discipline that actually works is never about punishment. Discipline is simply a way to guide and manage a child’s behaviour.
Discipline is based on the quality of a child’s relationship with the care provider (a teacher in the classroom, and mom and dad at home). When a child receives consistent response from a caring adult, trust, deep attachment and a sense of being wanted develops. This forms the foundation of good behaviour and effective discipline.
The key is to ensure that these relationships are respectful, responsive and reciprocal.
As a teacher once told me: “I understand that establishing a daily routine and frequent communication was vital to developing respectful and meaningful relationships, which directly affect behaviour and a child’s ability to learn. For instance, as children arrive into my classroom, I always make sure to greet them at the door, just as they greet me. I’m never “busy” planning curriculum, checking attendance or talking, texting or tinkering with my phone at drop off and pick up times. To take no notice of a child left in my care would send a message saying “you’re not worth my time,” which begins a cycle of mistrust.”
At home, I put being respectful, responsive and reciprocal into practice by setting my alarm clock 30 minutes before my daughter needs to start getting ready for school. Not so I can begin my day with peace and quiet, but so I can wake her up gently.
When I adjust my expectations of her behaviour instead of punishing her, things go more smoothly.
To be continued.