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6 Secrets of Highly Effective Discipline From a Seasoned Teacher

Effective Discipline Secrets From a Seasoned Teacher: IntroductionHave you noticed how kids behave differently at school than at home?

As an early education teacher, one of the most common questions I get from parents when they see their kids voluntarily cleaning up the classroom or sharing happily with other kids is:

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 cleanup and share here without grumbling and drama?

I am also a mother of four. 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 6 secrets of highly effective discipline –

#1: Effective discipline is NOT about punishment!

[Read More…]

8 Positive Discipline Techniques Every Parent Should Know

Positive Discipline Techniques Every Parent Should Know: IntroductionDon’t you sometimes wish you had a remote control to stop your child’s behavior with the click of a button before things start to spiral out of control?

I remember thumbing through the Parents Magazine a while back and reading about a kid who told his pesky little sister — “I wish you were a toy that required batteries so I can take them out. 

I sometimes wish my kids had removable batteries in them too!

Then again, forget about a remote control or batteries… I’ll settle for a simple pause, just one tiny moment, to collect my wits and figure out the best way to deal with a situation without blowing my top off.

Sigh!

Since none of these fantasies have a chance of coming true any time soon, I’d like to propose a modification to a strategy Sumitha suggested some time back to keep ourselves from yelling at kids even when we are hopping mad

Assuming you are not angry at the moment, now is the time to decide how you will respond at a later time when you are indeed angry. Making a list of possible responses and then reaching out to your pre-committed choices when you are angry, substantially increases your chances of success [at not yelling at kids]. There is a whole body of research to support this.

Here’s my suggestion. Let’s make a list of all the positive discipline techniques that we know of, and spend a few minutes looking at some example scenarios where they work well. This way, when the time comes for us to react (and sooner or later, it will), hopefully we’ll come up with an appropriate gentle response without having to think too hard. Or blowing our fuse. Sort of. Maybe.

Anyway, I’ll start out with 8 of the positive discipline techniques that I’m familiar with. How about you help grow this list by sharing your favorite techniques in the comments?  [Read More…]

Children and Technology: How to Be a Cool, In-Control Parent

Children and Technology: IntroductionDo you ever feel that you made the wrong decision as a parent?

Maybe your decision had unintended consequences. Maybe you made a decision based on the best information that you had available, but it just didn’t work out like you planned.

My wife and I experienced one of these situations last year, when we gave our daughter, Sarah, an iPhone for her 13th birthday.

We thought that it was the perfect gift. She’d been wanting one for a while and it would allow us to keep in touch with her by phone and text, and even keep track of her whereabouts.

We soon found out that children and technology don’t always mix quite the way we anticipate. You know where this is going…

The Shocking Unintended Consequences

Almost immediately her grades dropped from A’s and B’s to C’s, D’s, and F’s.

A little research into our Verizon account showed that she had sent and received over 4000 text messages in less than a month!

My jaw hit the floor when I first saw the sheer number of text messages, but soon learned that this wasn’t as ludicrous as it first seemed to me. A 2010 Pew Internet Survey indicates that 1 in 3 teens sends more than 100 text messages a day, or 3000 texts a month.

My daughter had also used about 3 GB of data, (75%) of our total data plan, in less than a month. Again, this is apparently not very surprising since the same survey indicates that 1 in 4 teens go online with cell phones.

How Could This Have Happened?

[Read More…]

5 Essential Tips to Dodge Toxic Holiday Stress and Enjoy Quality Family Time

beat_holiday_stress_by_slowing_downAre you excited about the upcoming holiday season?

Crisp, cool (or downright freezing cold!) nights. Hayrides. Hot cocoa. Kids singing carols. Family meals. Decorating the Christmas tree. Opening presents.

I love it all so much. And yet…

As the kids get older and have more and more of their own events and activities, our holidays are getting more and more rushed.

Last December we had six – yes, six!! — concerts, plays, and recitals. And only two of my four kids were in school. It’s only going to get crazier.

And a whole lot more stressful, if we let it.

So how do we enjoy the holidays and the end of the year with quality family time — and even set aside time for meditating or reflecting on our blessings and actually being thankful — when everything around us is pushing us to go non-stop for almost two months?

How do we dodge the toxic holiday stress that seems to lurk around every corner this time of the year?

Here’s what we do –

#1 Tell Your Time Where to Go

Just like you tell your money where to go by making a budget, tell your time where to go before other people do it for you.

Have you seen this Seven Big Rocks illustration of Steven Covey’s principle for prioritizing the important things in life?   [Read More…]

101 Fun Things To Do With Kids To Enjoy Everyday Family Life

101 Fun Things To Do With Kids To Enjoy Everyday Family Life - IntroductionOn a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you enjoy everyday family life (1 being the least, and 10 the most)?

If you had asked me that question a few years back, I’d have lied. My real answer would have been way too embarrassing to admit.

It’s so easy to get lost in the responsibilities of parenting that we forget to actually enjoy the journey!

We’ve come a long way since. One of the things I’ve learnt along the way is that if you remember to have fun, your day automatically becomes more enjoyable, irrespective of how mundane or stressful it may seem on the outside.

With that in mind, I’ve to put together a monster list of 101 Fun Things To Do With Kids To Enjoy Everyday Family Life. It’s a grab bag of ideas. Pick a few that you think might work for your family and give them a shot. Come back in a few days and pick a few more. And do it until you’re able to look at a perfectly routine, even boring or stressful situation and automatically find joy in it!

OK, we’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s jump right in –  [Read More…]