Leadership

Our words really do matter! Post #2: Using Natural and logical consequences with Children

Welcome back, I hope you gained some new knowledge from the first post in this series! If you missed it, I talked about leadership and using positivity with children. Scroll down to read post #1!

Ok, onto the subject at hand. Kids have some challenging behaviors!! They need consequences for their actions. They need to learn right from wrong. But they still need to know that they are loved too, despite their bad choices. In each situation you will need to weigh out how big of a deal you think the behavior was. Don’t sweat the small stuff! When your child starts misbehaving, you need to make sure they know it’s their behavior that you didn’t like! Reaffirm your love for them!  

Depending on the severity of the bad choice that your child made, it is right to provide a logical or natural consequence. Let’s dive into what each type of consequence is. A natural consequence is when a child chooses a bad behavior, the outcome happens naturally. For example, a child breaks a toy. What’s the natural consequence? The child can no longer play with the toy. Make sure your child sees you throw it away, or have them help. You might say, “That’s really sad that you chose to break your toy. Now it’s not safe to play with anymore, so we will have to throw it away. I love you and I want you to stay safe. I hope you make a better choice next time.” That’s it! Simple as that. They did something wrong, they got a consequence for their behavior. Now this is important: do not, I repeat, DO NOT run out and buy the child the same exact toy! That would defeat the whole purpose of the consequence! By not buying a new toy, this also teaches your child responsibility. He/She will learn that they need to take care of their belongings, because if they break something, that’s it. There won’t be a shiny new replacement. 

A logical consequence is one that helps repair or make right what was done. For example- a child draws on the wall. What is the logical consequence in this scenario? The child must now help clean the wall! But– also I’d like to add- remember that young children are still learning what is acceptable and what is not. (0-5 year olds). If they’re over 5 years old, they probably should have known better. They may have drawn something amazing on that wall! If so, snap a photo and save it for them to see someday!  I know in the heat of the moment you may be quite annoyed and mad that they chose to draw on the wall. However, if you feel anger rising in you, take a moment to look away from the child and the situation. Take a deep breath and think about the love you have for your child. When you feel more calm, you might say, “I’m really glad you enjoy drawing so much. However, the rule in our house (school or center) is that we draw on paper. Walls are not for drawing on. Now we must clean the wall. Then we can get you some paper to draw on.”

Have you tried giving your children natural or logical consequences? How did it go? Leave me a comment and let me know! In my next post I will be discussing the need for balance between disciplining and rewarding children. 

Thanks for reading my blog! Please feel free to share this post with anyone you think might be interested! Thanks in advance! Check back soon for post # 3!

Until then, remember…

Our words really do matter!

 

Photo credit: Designed by Freepik

Leadership

Our words really do matter! Post #1

I’m starting a series about using positivity when working with children. Children need to hear positive praise. This will reinforce their good behaviors. We need to avoid using negative and belittling words with children. Doing this makes them feel bad and worthless. This could send them down the wrong path in life. The more positive reinforcement children are given, the more they will display the behaviors we want to see. They will succeed in school and at home, (and hopefully in their lives too!) Think before you speak. “Will what I’m about to say help or hinder the child?” Adults need to help children build up their self-esteem. One important way we can do this is by staying positive as possible with what we say to them, and in their presence. Kids are listening more often than we think or realize! Let’s dive in here to my first post in this series.

 Positive reinforcement…

Our words really do matter! 

Today I’d like to talk about positive reinforcement, as I believe it plays an important role in a child’s development, future character, and self-esteem. What we say really does matter. Once we speak something negative, it’s hard to take back what was said. So we need to use our words carefully. This is true for what we say to anyone, but especially to young children. They internalize what they hear adults and their peers say to them. If a boy is told everyday that he is bad, it won’t be long until he believes it, and will start to act out. His “bad” behaviors were reinforced with negative input. He may start to feel bad about himself and will have a hard time socially with other children. This child could be headed down the wrong path in life, all because of the words spoken to him on a daily basis. He might have done some bad things, but that doesn’t make him “bad”. He made some bad choices. Let’s work on helping kids make good choices and praising them when they do! Kids are like an empty white canvas- the brush and color we paint them with will define the outcome of their behavior.

Let me explain what positive reinforcement is. Positive reinforcement is when you give praise for a desired behavior. For example, if your child picks up his/her toys, you might say: “Wow you picked up all your toys after you were done playing, I’m so proud of you!” Next time your child plays, he/she may think back to your words and will want to do the right thing and pick up again because he/she has associated picking up toys as a positive experience. 

It takes 5 positive comments to erase 1 negative comment.

We want to focus on the positive. It might feel weird or kind of silly to keep giving a child so much praise everyday, but it really does work and it is the right thing to do. It helps children develop good self-esteem and self-worth. It will also help them to interact more positively with their peers and the adults in their lives. How many times have you been told something negative, and it remains in your mind all day? It’s the same for children. I know sometimes it’s difficult when we are caught up in the moment. Kids can do some challenging things! Our first instinct might be to shout and use some words we will later regret. Parents and teachers, we’ve all been there, am I right? But how we respond is so important. If your child or student spills some milk, it might be tempting to say, “Now look at this mess you made! That was so stupid!” What do you think that child took away from the input you just gave? “I’m messy and stupid.” Is that what we want our children to think about themselves? Of course not! In a situation like this, first take a deep breath, so you’re feeling more calm, and say something like, “Let’s get a paper towel and you can help clean this up. I know you didn’t mean to make a mess.” Now of course, if you think that your child did it on purpose to get a rise out of you, you could provide a consequence. In that situation, you might say, “I see that you spilled your milk on purpose. I’m sad that you made a bad choice. After dinner you will not be able to watch TV. I hope you make a better choice next time.” Then you must stick with the consequence! Follow through is vital! If you give in and let the child watch TV anyway, he/she will not take your consequences seriously. Staying calm is vital too. When children see adults out of control, it may make them feel scared and out of control as well. They may respond by making another bad choice if the adult starts losing control. (More on this in my next post, stay tuned!)   

It’s important to be specific about the behavior that the child did that pleased you. “Good job” or “You’re smart” aren’t always enough. They need to know the reason for the good job or why you think they’re smart. When we are less specific, they forget why we gave them praise. That might make it more difficult for them to really value what you’re saying to them. Kids are very observant- they might not always be able to express themselves, but we should always communicate with them the “why”. Slowly they will start to get it.

Here’s a few examples of specific praise:

“You wrote your name correctly all by yourself! Good job!”

“Wow you know a lot of words that begin with the letter S! You’ve been paying attention!”  

“That was so kind of you to share your toy with your sister!”

“I like the way you ate all of your breakfast, that will help your body and your brain become more strong!” 

“You put that whole puzzle together, you worked so hard on that, way to go!”

“Thank you for cleaning your room, you are so responsible!”

If you made it this far, thanks for reading my post!

I hope you gained some new insight into this topic!

Until my next post, remember…

Our words really do matter! 

Note: If you know anyone that you think may find this post useful, please feel free to share it with them! Thanks in advance! 

Photo credit:  Designed by Freepik

Food

5 Healthy Summer Snacks for Kids

Hello again! Today I’d like to share with you my thoughts on some healthy snacks. Now that summer is here, the kids will be out and about doing more activities. They will need to replenish their energy after playing. Here are my thoughts on some good and healthy summer snacks!

1. What’s the best summer drink to give your kids to keep them hydrated? Water! Yep, plain old water. After playing hard and sweating a lot, kids need to re-hydrate. Water has no added calories, no sugar, no colors, and no preservatives. Water reenergizes the body and the brain without the added stuff that the body doesn’t need. Sugary drinks like juice boxes or soda actually dehydrate a person more.

2.  Now on to some good summer food. Many of us tend to lean towards chocolate, ice cream, chips, etc. Yes they look and taste good but check the ingredients! There are a lot preservatives, chemicals and sugar in these foods. A small piece of chocolate or a scoop of ice cream would be ok once in a while, but there are better options out there. How about a nice cold piece of watermelon? Watermelon is full of water and fiber, and tastes sweet too! The water will help keep your kids hydrated, and the fiber will help keep them regular. Win-win!

3. Banana ice cream! This is a great ice cream substitute. Peel 3 to 4 ripe bananas. Slice them and place them in a freezer safe bag. Freeze. After they are frozen, place the slices in a blender. Blend well until creamy. Serve immediately. You could even add in other frozen fruits to create various flavors- mangoes, strawberries, blueberries, and so on- the combinations are endless!

4. Do your kids like to munch on crunchy snacks? Try some plain peanuts! Peanuts have a lot of nutritional value- they have potassium, calcium, Vitamin B-6, magnesium, and protein. These are all good for muscle building and lean bodies!  But before you serve this protein packed snack, please make sure none of your kids have nut allergies!

5. Pineapple butterflies– Here’s one snack that’s a little bit more fancy, but easy to make. Pineapple is a great source of Vitamin C. And Vitamin C is a great immune booster! Such an important vitamin for all of us- but especially for young children. You will need: A can of pineapple rings- cut them in half. (Or if you prefer, you could cut fresh pineapple into ring shapes yourself) You’ll also need pretzel sticks- large or small. Place a pretzel stick on a paper plate. Now place two pineapple ring halves, one on each side next to the pretzel stick. Those are the wings. Finally place two pretzel sticks at the top in the shape of antennae. A fun and healthy treat is ready to soar!

 

Have a fun and healthy summer!

 

Disclaimer: I am a teacher and love to give kids good nutritional food, but I’m not a nutritionist. For more nutrition facts and details, please consult your health care provider.

Photo credit: Designed by Freepik

Literacy

10 Fun Summer Literacy Activities for Young Children

Welcome summer! Today is the official first day of summer, so I thought today would be the perfect time to post 10 fun literacy activities to do with young children! Most of these are designed to be done outside, however you could adapt them for indoors as well. Warm weather is here! Get those kids outside!

  1. Water painting/writing. You will need: clean paint brushes, pails filled with water. The sponges on handles work well. You can find them in the craft section of any major store. For the pail, I would suggest a plastic pail with a handle from the dollar store, or the summer section of most big box stores. Have the children dip their paint brushes into the water, then paint on any surface outside (approved by you of course). Doors and sidewalks work best. Challenge them to write their name, letters, numbers, and shapes. Or they could use stencils too. We’ve done this activity at school several times- the kids love it!

2. Sidewalk Chalk. This is basically the same idea as number one, but with chalk! You can buy sidewalk chalk at the dollar store, craft stores, or most big box stores. Give each child some chalk and write away! You could even try using water and chalk together. If the children are not writing letters on their own yet, you could write a letter with chalk, and then have the children trace over it with their wet paint brush. Or water first, then the chalk! Give it a try!

3. Go on a letter hunt. Print out the entire alphabet on card stock. Many websites have free printable alphabet cards. Or you could write the letters on index cards, one per letter. Or you could buy alphabet flash cards. Laminate or cover each letter in clear contact paper for durability. Next make a list with the alphabet on it- this will be your check list. Then hide each letter outside on the play ground or in your back yard. You could use blue painters tape to help them stay in place. Have the children find the letters! Each time they find a letter, they could bring it back to you and you can check it off your list. For more advanced children, you could have them tell you the sound of the letter, and/or a word that begins with that letter as they hand it to you. Variation to this game: give each child their own alphabet check list. When they find a letter, they simply check it off, and leave it there for the next child to find. Keep going until they have found every letter! If you think this might be too difficult to find all 26 letters, you could always start out just hiding a few letters and continue this for a few days until they have found them all.

4. Go on a scavenger hunt. In a word document, make a check list with clip art- pictures of things that you can find outside in your play space. Examples- grass, dirt, slide, see-saw, birds, clouds, flowers, dandelions, balls, swings, trees, etc. By each picture leave a space to write the letter that each item begins with. For younger preschoolers you could type 3 letters by each pic and they circle which letter they think the word begins with. Give each child the check list with a pencil. When they find an item, they should circle it, and then write next to the picture which letter it begins with.

5. Alphabet hop scotch. You will need a large sidewalk or driveway and sidewalk chalk. Draw hop scotch squares. In each square, write letters, or for readers, write words. As the children jump in each square they have to say the letter, letter sound, or word they see. For “double squares” they should say the letter or word on the left first and the letter or word on the right second.

6. Pass the beach ball. This is a fun group activity! You will need a beach ball or large bouncy ball, and a black sharpie marker for this activity. You can buy beach balls or large bouncy balls at the dollar store or any big box store. Blow up the beach ball and write the entire alphabet all over the ball. The children should stand in a circle. They will take turns throwing the ball to each other. Whichever letter their hands are nearest to, they should say the name of the letter and its sound if they know it. To add another challenge, you could have them say a word that begins with that letter also. You could also help them learn left and right with this game. You could say “this time look at the letter near your left hand”. Then the next time have them look at the letter closest to their right hand.

7. Find the letters in the sand. If you have a sandbox, you could use it for this activity. Otherwise, you could bring a small container of sand from your sand table outside. You will need either foam or magnetic letters. Hide them in the sand. Let the children find the letters!

8. Environmental print walk. Take the kids on a walk in the neighborhood. Look for signs. As they see them, have the children take turns saying which letters they see and what they think the sign might say. Give them hints as needed, but if it’s too easy give them higher thinking questions to help them understand. For example, if you walk past a stop sign many of them will probably say it says stop. They’ve seen this sign so many times they just have it memorized and know what it says without being able to read! When this happens, ask them, “how did you know it says stop?” Direct them to look at each letter and the shape and color of the sign.

9. Story time outside! You will need: a comfortable area outside, and some age appropriate children’s books (preferably board books). Before heading outside, make sure you lay down the rules of this outside story time. For example- books stay on the blankets, stay in area by the books until you say it’s ok for them to go play, and so on. You could bring some blankets and place them in the grass. Have the children sit on the blankets and look at books! Read a few stories to them. Sing simple songs- Alphabet song, Itsy bitsy spider, bringing home my baby bumble bee, twinkle twinkle little star, and so on.

10. Ice painting. You will need: ice cube trays, food coloring, craft sticks, large piece of white butcher paper. Add food coloring to water, pour into ice cube trays, put one craft stick in each slot. Set in the freezer until frozen. Outside, lay the butcher paper out on a sidewalk or grassy area. Place something heavy at each end of the paper so it doesn’t blow away. Give each child one ice cube and paint away! They can paint their names, letters, shapes, numbers, or paint whatever they choose! I know what some of you might be thinking– they’re going to think these ice cubes are popsicles! You could skip the craft sticks if you like, and let them hold the ice cube as they paint. But, before heading outside, explain to the children they are going to do some ice painting onto paper and that these are not popsicles. After they are done painting they will get to enjoy eating real popsicles! Have the real popsicles ready for them to eat after they finish painting. Even if some of the kids try eating the ice cubes- it’s just water and food coloring, no harm done!

Let me know if you try any of these fun activities!

Photo credit: Photo of boy and girl reading: Designed by Freepik