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GUIDANCE, AND DISCIPLINE

In this topic we will go over the concepts of guidance and discipline.


We will address guidelines for using guidance and discipline. We will
also address the problems associated with using punishment to
correct children's behaviors. Lastly we will explore ways in which we
can enlist children to problem solve with adults, thus preventing
possible conflict.
Before we get started with this topic I would like for you to think
about your own definition of Guidance and Discipline. Think about
how you would define each of these concepts. You need to write
you own definition of these concepts before you read this section. I
will ask you to reflect on your original definition at the end of this
topic.
Guidance and Discipline :
What is the difference between guidance and discipline? People
may use these interchangeably. In the Early Childhood Education
field guidance and discipline are 2 different concepts. Guidance is a
preventative measure. It gives children information about what is
appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Guidance is used when we
modeled specific behaviors to children. For example if we always
use phrases such as "please" and "thank you" we are modeling
etiquette and respect to our children. Teaching our children how to
express their feelings by using their words is also guidance. We
must remember that we as adults must provide the structure and
boundaries for children. By doing so we are providing the guidance
they need.
Six Strategies to Implementing Guidance:
Set up the appropriate environment:
1
.

Remember that children love to explore and exploration is their


means of learning. Allow them to explore freely by making sure the
environment is safe for them. Put away items you don't want
broken or handled. Allow for activities that are appropriate to their
age.
Model appropriate behavior:

2
.

Be a role model for your child. Behave as you expect your child to
behave.

Re-Direct Energy:
3
.

Be sure to provide several choices for children. Plan for activities


that children can do outside. Be sure to allow children to let out
their physical energy.
Provide Physical Presence:

4
.

Be sure that you know what your children are doing and be sure
that your children know you are close by. You may be able to
prevent problematic behavior by simply getting physically close to
your child or by providing physical touch.
Teach Expression of Feelings:

5
.

Teach your child how to express anger by using his/her words


instead of his/her hands.
Meet their Needs:

6
.

Be sure to identify their needs and meet them. Are they hungry,
tired, sick, and soiled?

Let's now turn our attention to Discipline. What is discipline and


when do we use it? Discipline is a corrective method. Discipline is
an action we take after a child has behaved in an unacceptable
manner. For example, if a child breaks a window he/she must pay
for the damages. We must remember that the goal of discipline is to
address and correct the inappropriate behavior. We must always
separate the behavior from the child. Many people confuse
discipline with punishment. When we use discipline we simply
address the erroneous behavior by providing consequences.
Strategies for Implementing Discipline
Honoring the Impulse:
1
.

Sometimes we identify children?s behaviors as misbehaviors when


in reality they are just following their developmental impulses. This
is very common in toddlers and pre-verbal children. For example, a
toddler whom drops his glass of juice on the floor may just be
exploring the process of letting the glass go and seeing the juice
spill. In a situation like this it is important to understand this
process for this child. This doesn?t mean that you allow the child to
continue to spill the juice over and over again. It would be

important for you to provide information to your child as to what


he/she is doing. For example, you might say, "It looks like you find
the pouring of the juice fascinating." By saying this to your child
you have begun to honor his/her impulse. Then, you proceed to let
the child know that you prefer the juice stay on the table or in the
glass. If the child persists on pouring the juice, you let her/him
know that you will need to take the glass away, as this is
unacceptable.
Sportscasting:
2
.

This is a form of providing information by describing the events


taking place. This strategy is useful when you are dealing with
conflict between two children. It's essentially a running
commentary: "I see that you are holding that toy very closely, I see
Bob is grabbing the toy from you."
Facilitation:

3
.

This strategy also works well with conflict between two children. It
works well if you use it in conjunction with Sports-casting, " Bobby I
see that are grabbing the toy from Johnny, is there another way to
let him know you want to play with it?" This strategy encourages
children to think of solutions and to verbalize their needs. This is a
strategy that pre-schoolers and school age children will benefit
from.
Using "I" Messages:

4
.

"I" statements is a useful tool to use with children of all ages. When
you use "I" statements with your child you model for your child that
you have feelings and are able to express them. You also let your
child know how their behavior affects you without using blame.
Giving Choices:

5
.

This is also another strategy that can be used with younger


children as well as teenagers. Providing choices for your children
lets them know that your honor their sense of autonomy. Choices
can be used for children testing your limits. "You can go out on a
school night or Saturday night."
Natural Consequences:

6
.

Children learn best through direct experience, allowing them to

experience the impact of their actions can provide them with


important information. For example, if a child chooses not to do
his/her homework, he/she may get detention at school the next
day. It is important that we allow our children to experience these
consequences and that we do not rescue them. The natural
consequence strategy is a powerful tool to teach children about the
consequences of their actions. The exception to this is in cases
where safety of the child is an issue. We should never allow our
children to get hurt so that they can learn a lesson.
Problem Solving with your Child
Problem solving is an essential skill for children to learn. It is
important for children to learn how to deal with conflict and find
effective solutions. T best way for children to acquire this skill is for
parents to teach them through modeling.

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