Recently I wrote about five teacher tricks that all parents should know. After reflecting back on how my experience as an educator has affected my parenting, I got curious about what strategies my educator friends have found helpful with their children. When I asked them, I was impressed by the assortment of easy tweaks they suggested. (I can’t wait to use them with my daughter!)
Connect Then Redirect
Nancy Rodriguez is the mom to a 7-year-old, and has experience as a preschool, kindergarten, and first grade teacher. When I asked her about her top teacher trick for parents, she stressed the importance of “connecting before redirecting” negative behavior. For example, if your child is climbing on the furniture, say, “I can see you love climbing! Please keep your feet on the floor for now, and we will have some time on the play structure later” Or if your child is having issues with a friend, say, “I see that getting your turn is really important to you, let’s have a peace talk with your friend and find a way to solve this problem.” Starting with a connection helps your child feel valued and grounded before being told to stop negative behavior.
Acknowledge & Reflect Feelings
Wondering what to do when your kids are super upset? Tatum Omari, a kindergarten teacher and mother of two girls, finds it helpful to acknowledge and reflect feelings. When her daughters are upset, she uses the sentence frame, “I can see that _____ happened and you are really ______.” Verbalizing what her daughters are going through helps them to identify and process their feelings.
Show You Care
Just like Nancy and Tatum, Daina Lujan, an assistant principal and mother to a 3-year-old boy, shared an important social-emotional strategy. When providing constructive feedback, she reminds us to stress that you are giving it because you love your child. Communicating “I’m giving you this feedback because I believe in you” limits the feeling that parents are always nagging, instead showing that they care. Kids will go the extra mile when they know their parents are on their side.
Time is On Your Side
Clean-up time can be hard. Alison Edelstein, mom of two girls and a Speech Language Pathologist, has her kids participate in a “Time is on Your Side” challenge. She sets a timer and says, “Let’s see how much we can do in this time.” If they need an extra push, Alison challenges her kids to beat the world record in cleaning up toys by seeing how many they can get. (I love how she makes clean-up time a fun task.)
Why? Why? Why?
Is your child in the “Why?” phase (mine is!)? Alison suggests turning the question back to kids before answering to let them problem solve and use higher level reasoning skills. Kids can can get to the answer on their own if they think it through. If they don’t know, encourage them to tell you and support them in finding the answer. (Alison also creator of Chirpy Chatterbox, a website designed to enhance communication development in babies and toddlers through play, music, and meaningful interactions– check it out!)
What are your favorite quick parenting tips? Check out mine here and share yours below!