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Positive Discipline

How to help a 1-year-old having a tantrum

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validating feelings
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validating feelingsI absolutely love Positive Discipline! Click here to visit Positive Discipline If you haven’t checked out any of their books or website – do it now! They have the best advice (in my opinion) for how to help behaviors in a  way that is kind AND firm at the same time.

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Positive Discipline Tool Card about Validating Feelings

Today, I want to share some ideas on how to help a 1-year-old when they are starting to cry or scream about something they don’t like (using Positive Discipline’s “Validate Feelings” tool card.  I don’t know about your child, but mine cries often over very small things.  If he could talk, he would likely be saying things like, “I don’t want to sit there”, “I hate putting my coat on”, “I don’t want to get in the car”, “I’m not sitting in this high chair”!

Since he can’t talk, he screams or cries.  Recently I read something that totally helped me understand this better.  Crying is most of the time a form of communication for children 1-2 years old.  It doesn’t mean you have to stop what you are asking them to do (unless it’s a cry about physical pain), or give in to their plea for a cookie, etc .  Just try to translate what the cry really means into words.  So, if he is crying, I stop myself from responding “don’t cry about this,”, because that would be like saying, “Stop telling me you are frustrated with this.”

Instead, seek to hear their cry as a way to communicate frustration and then respond accordingly with empathy and firmness:

“Oh boy. You are frustrated that we are getting shoes on right now. You do not like putting shoes on. I hear that (while child is crying screaming). It’ ok to be frustrated.  Take a minute to just be frustrated about that. I’m here.  I’ll give you a hug. I don’t like doing things sometimes too.”  Meanwhile, I pause the putting-on-shoes process to just connect with a  hug, cuddle and soft voice, hoping my calmness can wear off on my child. Usually this works to calm his cries screams within 1-2minutes.

In a moment of screaming 1-2 minutes can feel like FOREVER, but it’s really worth the wait.  It’s not that long at all when you think of the lifelong benefit you are giving your child, helping him to feel their feelings are valid and helping them understand and manage their emotions.

Empathy has the power to really take the sting out of most difficult situations.  It doesn’t make it perfect. The child isn’t going to smile and say, “Ok. I am completely happy now about getting my shoes on”.  BUT, they are more likely to be able to move past the emotion to a level of calmness where you can distract them with something else to focus on and move forward.  Once that initial flare-up has died down, I then say something like, “Here. Could you hold my keys and be a helper?” (while then putting the shoes on).

Hope you see great results!  

**Disclaimer: Remember, this is not a 1-time fix.  This is a tool to use over and over again throughout the tantrums years for better results towards helping your child understand and manage their emotions.  Expect to repeat these steps 5-20+ times a day (depending on the day!);-)  Would love to help you trouble-shoot if you aren’t seeing it help your 1-year-old’s tantrums.

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Amazing morning/bedtime routine chart

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Morning and bed-time routine chart
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This is NOT your typical morning/bed-time routine chart, and that is what I LOVE about it!  When I recently was interviewing an 11-year SAHM, Kerry, I noticed this genius idea on her wall and begged her to be able to share it.  I have never seen a chart used like this and I LOVE it!  If you have children that are school-aged, this is a must-have.

What you need:

1.  A visual clock.  Kerry purchased this awesome Teaching Hands Clock (from www.difflearn.com), which is specially designed to help children understand what hour and minute it is.

2.  This awesome 2-sided routine chart to help your child know the steps needed to get out the door (or to bed) on time!

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Bed-time routine chart

The genius in this chart includes the following:

1.  Pictures used to demonstrate each activity help the child to clearly visualize what needs to happen while the red minute hand is in that section of the chart.

Morning routine chart

Morning Routine chart to help children self-monitor so they get out the door by 8am!

2.  The chart can stand as the “bad guy”, so parents are less likely to get in a power struggle.  It may just be semantics, but it’s less conflict-inducing when you say “What does the clock show you need to do next?” or “oh no! You only have 3 minutes left before the clock will move on to Brush/floss time.  Can you beat the clock?” It comes across so differently than when you say, “I have told you 3 times already.  Get your PJ’s on!”

3.  It is helping your child to understand time better as they walk through and are aware of how fast 5 or 10 minutes goes by.

Reversible morning/bedtime chart

Super cool reversible morning/bedtime chart!

This clock is designed to be reversible.  So, you create a sort of hook on top of your clock with a twisted up wire hanger, and then you simply hang up the Morning Routine side in the AM, and flip it to the Bed-Time Routine side in the PM.

For those of you who aren’t feeling crafty, or just don’t have the time to make one of these yourself, I’m gonna work on making a template you can download.  Until then, here is a template of a Routine_chart_for_kids my sister used with her 4-year-old.  Here is part of the chart, but I recommend downloading it to see the whole chart.

Morning Routine Chart

 

 

 

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Ways to involve your toddler in the kitchen

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cooking with a toddler
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If your 1-year-old is like mine, they LOVE to be involved with cooking (or anything you are doing in the kitchen)! My Chunky Monkey loves to sweep too.  These are aspects that Montessori calls “Practical Life” lessons.  When a child has ways that they can be involved in the daily activities (cooking and cleaning), they develop independence and confidence.   Here’s how they do practical life lessons in a Montessori school.

Here are some ways we have found we can get our 1-year old safely involved in the kitchen.

1. cooking with a toddlerPurchase a learning tower.  They are a bit pricey, but you will use it for years.  Also, to us it is worth a million dollars for how happy it makes our son as he is able to more easily help out in the kitchen.  You can set it anywhere and adjust the height so your child is easily (and safely) able to reach the table or counter.

2.  Get out the salad spinner! Our son has loved “helping” make salad since he was 10 months old.  He pushes the button for the salad (which helps him build important hand muscles that will be needed for writing and drawing), and he takes the lid off on his own.  He also loves to tear the lettuce into small pieces and put them in a bowl I set next to him.  The trick is to have his hands washed and a very clean floor under his work area. 🙂  That way if/when he drops pieces, they can easily be picked up and used.

3.  Look for opportunities for them to help stir.  Our Chunky helping in the kitchenMonkey loves to help stir, and it’s an activity that enhances his arm coordination.  We stand close-by, but encourage him to be as independent as possible.  His smile is usually about the size of a slice of watermelon, as he feels so proud to be helping.  *As a side note: I believe in the Positive Discipline principle that children thrive when they have a sense of significance and belonging.  Learn why we need a sense of belonging here.

I’d love to hear other ways you get little hands involved in the kitchen. Please share below.

 

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Author: FLORA

I am a new post-career SAHM, living in Bozeman Montana. I share stories and ideas from parenting with a Montessori and Positive Discipline inspired perspective. Also, I LOVE DIY projects and finding great ways to use thrift store or hand-made toys for my little one.
Learn more about why I say I'm "Just" a stay-at-home mom.

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