As educators and caregivers, we at Rosewood Academy know that life with a toddler can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Toddlers have limited language skills, so the easy path when frustrated is to throw a tantrum or just have a meltdown. Nevertheless, as educators or parents, there are some simple strategies we can use to make life easier.
1. I NEED TO (STATE THE NEED).
Before wiping a child’s face or anything that requires assistance, let toddlers know what you are going to do. The child may not like it any better, but when they know what to expect it builds cooperation over time. It also demonstrates to children that we trust them.
2. GENTLE HANDS, PLEASE.
When a toddler is playing rough, using phrases such as “Use gentle hands, please” reinforces good behavior. It can be hard for a toddler to see they are inflicting pain upon another person because they don’t have the cognitive ability to understand another person’s perspective quite yet. By using such phrases, we are teaching the language and social skills needed for them to better understand another person’s perspective. (https://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/development/manners/teaching-kids-to-mind-their-manners/)
3. WALK AWAY
When a child misbehaves, the phrase “walk away” tells them what to do in a clear manner without having to use the overused negative words “stop” or “no-no”. If a child continues with the bad behavior state, “I will help you” then say, “walk away” again. Ending by giving some form of positive reinforcement such as “Thank you for walking away (from the other child).” (http://www.teachkidshow.com/teach-your-child-to-walk-away-from-fights/)
Many children at this age still have a hard time understanding right from wrong. It’s always better to be direct and tell them instead of asking them what to do so there is no confusion. Children need concrete directions and if they are still confused we should show them what we mean. Using positive language in the process is much more beneficial and likely to result in better behavior than negatives words such as ‘no’, ‘don’t do that’ and ‘stop.’ (https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/ages-stages-learning-follow-directions/)
6. THANK YOU FOR….
Giving “specific” praise for a child’s good behavior reinforces and thereby makes it a habit. Letting a child hear about the exact action and exact praise also supports positive language development, forming connections between certain words and action. (https://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/the-right-way-to-praise-your-kids#1)
8. I’M SORRY YOU’RE MAD.
When a child has a meltdown or a tantrum, it’s always best to remain calm. Acknowledging their feelings, addressing them by name and showing empathy can go a long way in helping an angry child calm down. Research shows that empathy is the most effective way to respond to a tantrum. (Brain Rules for Babies, by Dr. John Medina). As the adults in children’s lives, our role is to provide the kind of guidance that will help model their long-term behavior. Showing empathy, then helping a child walk away or redirecting their mind are helpful strategies. (http://www.pbs.org/parents/talkingwithkids/positive_discipline_tips.html)
At Rosewood Academy, we cherish the opportunity partner with you in shaping the hearts and minds of a future generation. As such, we believe in using positive strategies for managing the behavior of young children. Our goal is not just to deal with the moment with the care and respect that each child deserves, but to instill values that will shape each child’s behavior long into the future.
Developing crucial skills through play
Now that the holidays are over, let’s weigh in some of those keepers – specifically, those pesky toys that take up space and may cram not only your space, but your style. As with any toys, there’s always an upside. They are likely the toys that go a long way in helping toddlers and preschoolers enhance their gross motor skills; a critical aspect of body and mind development in early childhood.
At Rosewood Academy, gross motor skill development is a fun part of daily routine across all age groups; whether it’s dancing while singing, jumping up and down while learning the letter or number of the week, or just monkeying around on the playground. Children especially enjoy weekly classes with Mr. Bonner, Rosewood’s own physical fitness coach.
Back to those holiday gifts. If your child happened to have been gifted some of those favored by fitness experts, you’re in luck. If not, when you’re on the search for ways in which to channel their energy, take some tips from Sheryl Cooper, founder of Teaching 2 and 3 year olds.
Play tunnels teach bilateral coordination skills – left and right side – as well as core, neck, shoulder and leg strengthening. When balancing their body weight on all fours while crawling, tunnels help children’s vestibular system; inner ear and balance.
Schools love using parachutes for group large motor play, lifting and lowering it while singing songs with eager children. These activities help develop a child’s upper torso and strengthen shoulder, arm and hand muscles.
Ball play can help a child develop vital gross motor skills such as: bouncing, rolling, catching, throwing, kicking, aiming, and tracking. What’s great is that in the process, they’re enhancing social skills through interactions with other children.
Developing motor and balance skills further, a popular toy is scooter boards .
The actions of maneuvering, swerving and twisting and balancing provide excellent opportunities to fine tune gross motor skills.
Finally, take a look at Moluk Bilibo Chairs . The benefits include, “stimulating creativity, improving hand-eye coordination, strengthening the core, improving balance, and helping with sensory issues.” (Teaching2and3yearolds.com). Preschoolers and toddlers rock side to side in these chairs and pick them up due to their size to turn them over and even practice balancing on them – but those are just a few of the ways you can use these chairs!
Visit Sheryl Moore’s link for more information.