Thursday, February 28, 2013

Conscious Discipline with Infants and Toddlers- Is it possible?

Yes, but it is all about foundation in the early years. Setting a strong foundation and creating the necessary scaffolding is an essential part of conscious discipline. What is scaffolding? Scaffolding is creating links in a child’s brain to help him or her learn new and more difficult ideas/ practices.

A key component of conscious discipline is not about changing others, but ourselves. We can’t expect our children/students to change until we can first make the changes in ourselves first. This is true for all ages including infants and toddlers. In the younger years much of conscious discipline relates to how we maintain ourselves and how we interact with children. Over the next several months I will be going through the Conscious Discipline book chapter by chapter and sharing how we can relate these principles to our youngest loved ones. Each chapter has many principles and I look forward to sharing one with you each week! These principles are from the Conscious Discipline book by Becky Bailey.

Chapter One: Composure

Be the person you want your children to become. No one can make you angry without your permission. Our brains operate best in a safe environment.

Principle 1: Composure is self control in action.

Composure is all about self control. As adults we need to be aware of our own thoughts and feelings. This is how we learn to teach based off of self control versus control through frustration or anger in the moment. Composure is a choice we make. Whether we realize it or not, we decide to get frustrated or to stay calm. Our ability to see this, and control our decision to stay composed, is the first application that we can learn from conscious discipline for our home and classroom.

As a parent, I remember many times that I would let a situation control my mind and my actions. I would let frustration take over instead of being aware of my feelings and learning self control. Moments when my kids would cry for lengthy times and I too felt like crying. But by learning self composure, we can stop ourselves from being out of control and lead our children by example. It is a never ending learning process that can help us become better teachers and parents. When my emotions are out of control my little ones reflect that. It takes time, but when I am in control of myself, I see that reflecting in my children as well.

Learning self discipline and self control is essential and the prerequisite to disciplining. Without being able to control yourself, you can not expect your children to learn to either.

I leave you this week with a challenge to learn self control. You are in charge of how how you react to each situation. Stop and listen to how you are reacting to things in your life and make a decision to act the way you should, instead of how you feel in the moment.

Learn S.T.A.R (Smile, Take a deep breath, And Relax)

By Kimberly Macenko

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