“Be Careful: and “Pay Attention” are statements that become redundant statements akin to “good job” or “well done” as far as children are concerned. They need specifics, and more importantly, they need to learn how to make progress without outside judgement.
Try expressing yourself in these ways towards toward your children instead, and see how their confidence and independence grows as a result.
Even with a playroom full of toddlers (ages 13 months – 20 months) I am already talking myself through this process of helping some of the children to stand up for themselves, and helping some others feel secure enough to not be “bullies”. Stealing toys is what toddlers are supposed to do, just like throwing food from the high chair, and throwing toys over fences and gates, among many other fun behaviors for them that are annoying to you. It’s fruitless to administer time-outs, punish, or try to convince them that these behaviors can be hurtful. But, when aggressive behaviors continue, they can be hurtful to children who are younger, or not physically strong enough to prevent another child from taking a toy, or being physically dominant. This article focuses on what you can do to help the child who seems to be the “victim” day after day.
The most important part I took away was how to interpret or to understand what is behind the quietness or the crying, and how to help the “victims” learn to stand up for themselves, no matter how long it takes, without necessarily viewing other children as “bad”.
John Dewey on the True Purpose of Education and How to Harness the Power of Our Natural Curiosity
Children are naturally curious. Our job as teachers is to keep their love for learning alive.
“His task is rather to keep alive the sacred spark of wonder and to fan the flame that already glows. His problem is to protect the spirit of inquiry, to keep it from becoming blasé from overexcitement, wooden from routine, fossilized through dogmatic instruction, or dissipated by random exercise upon trivial things.”
This is an important read, and essential philosophy for the way I run my in-home school. It breaks my heart to see any of the children in my care cry out in frustration or pain, or for any reason at all! But ultimately, my goal is for them to learn how to resolve conflicts on their own. Partly, it is how I will teach them and give them the language they can use to do this. But, in equal part is how they will decide and learn how to handle conflicts on their own. Given the opportunity, (really, multiple opportunities) children will surprise you on their ability to handle situations on their own, and be better for it, rather than looking for you to solve all of their conflicts. It’s not heartless to give them a chance to do this on their own!
A surprising and inspirational read about what Teacher Tom has to say about our children reaching “milestones”. What is on your child’s list?
Have you ever carefully watched a toddler try to move while wearing denim? I have dressed my child in denim, and those are the days he seems to struggle more. Why? Movement is more challenging! He is happier when he is wearing shorts, sweats, even pajama pants, simply because he can move with complete freedom. He is also happier without socks and shoes, because he has a connection between his feet and whatever he is walking, running, and climbing on, that he doesn’t have when he is wearing socks and shoes. Of course there are times when socks and shoes are necessary for safety and temperature concerns, but more often than not, they tend to impede his movement. In the future, shoes and traction will help him with more challenging climbing movements, but right now, bare feet seem to be the best. It’s a simple concept for us, but life-changing for our infants and toddlers.