Summer gives children a break from school, a time to play, relax and grow. But summer is often a time of “unlearning” too.
While children can use workbooks and trips to the library to keep up math and reading skills, behaviors can more easily get out of hand. Furthermore, many children have summertime babysitters who might feel powerless in discipline.
Here are some tips to help caregivers with positive discipline:
• Use fun and games to encourage good behavior. Make a game of counting toys as you put them away.
• Praise the child when you see good behavior; thank the child for listening or being nice.
• To prevent tantrums, help the child transition to a new activity, telling children when things will happen and why. “In three minutes, we will clean up the toys so we can have lunch.”
• If a child throws a tantrum but is safe and not causing harm, ignore the behavior, and eventually the child will stop.
• Use consequences for misbehavior and breaking rules. For example: “If you throw that stuffed animal, you will have to put it away for the rest of the day.”
• If the child begins to act out, redirect his play or attention to something new.
• Give the child a “do-over” so he can learn a better way to handle a situation.
Using positive discipline can help create a better relationship for children and caregivers without causing harm and aggression. In the long run, the child will feel better and learn natural consequences for bad behavior.
For more information about positive discipline or parenting, call Jayne McBurney of the Johnston County Cooperative Extension Service at 919-989-5380 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.