“You worked hard on that!” You may hear one of our nannies mention while caring for children. Rather than the typical “good job!” Certified Nannies of America professionals focus on offering encouragement and descriptive praise. This is just one of the principles of positive discipline. This way of working with children helps encourage the acquisition of social and life skills including respect, empathy, problem-solving, and cooperation, among others.
Positive discipline also helps eliminate power struggles and encourages a positive relationship between the child and the caregiver. We train our nannies in positive discipline because we’ve seen first-hand that it works! Many families have also found this philosophy to be helpful in their parenting. How can you start using it? Here are a few tips you can use to get started:
One of the principle beliefs in positive discipline is that children want to be connected. They are wired to seek out relationships with us, their caregivers and parents! In order to have a healthy, respectful and agreeable relationship with kids, we have to connect with them. Make at least a small amount of positive connecting time with your kids every day. A gesture such as reading a book together or really taking time to examine their Lego creation can communicate your love to your child. Connect over something that’s important to your child to foster your relationship with them.
Rather than hounding your child for something they did wrong, ask them to help you think of a solution. Whether you’re struggling with organization, following instructions or another issue, involve your child in coming up with a solution rather than imposing a punitive punishment such as “no tv” or “no screen time”. An example might be, “I need you to put your backpack and shoes away when you get home. How can we make that happen?” Without letting your child off the hook, you can talk about solutions such as setting an alarm to remind your child, hanging some hooks in the entryway or another solution that your child can agree to.
By describing your child’s good behavior and it’s benefits, you can motivate them to continue to display it! For example, you might say “Thanks for cleaning up! Now no one will trip over your toys.” Remember to describe the effort as well, as this will help your child see the relationship between hard work and positive outcomes. For example, “You didn’t give up on your math homework. You must feel so satisfied.”
Finally, by treating your child with respect, you set an example for how you’d like them to treat you and others. Yes, children throw tantrums, scream, yell and sometimes even go through stages of biting and hitting. By striving to keep your calm, you set the tone for respectful relationships.
At Certified Nannies of America, we believe that positive discipline offers many great insights for both nannies and parents. You can learn more about it by visiting the positive discipline website or speaking to one of our nannies.