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When should children start formal schooling?
As late as possible, according to Canadian psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld. A recent article published by the IMFC (Institute of Marriage and Family, Canada) Dr. Neufeld explains how attachments to peers can cause a plethora of problems which may not be recognized until later in life when the affects of the peer attachment develops.
Neufeld suggests that sending young children to daycare because it will help them overcome shyness, or get along with others, or in fact because the child “loves to go and spend time with her peers,” is the wrong thing to do. Read the rest of this entry →
It’s important for children to understand their boundaries. And in this case, the boundaries I’m referring to are the literal kind. Physical Boundaries.
There are times when you need to keep your child close to you for safety, or times you need them to stop moving toward something dangerous like the top of the stairs or a hot barbeque.
The word “stop” is a good one to be sure to teach your child at a very young age I taught my oldest boy the word “stop” shortly after he began to walk, around10-months old. Here’s how I took some time to teach this word.
First I held his hand and walked a few steps and then I said “stop!” and we stopped.
I repeated this several times until he seemed to be stopping on his own even though I was holding his hand.
The next step was to walk and let go of his hand having him walk beside me and say “stop,” stopping myself very quickly. He had no trouble stopping with me, and we continued the little game of “stop” until he would stop automatically when told.
Then we both walked around the yard going in our own different directions and I would say “stop” and we would both stop in our own places. ( It was a fun game, kids like games.)
The next step was for me to stand in place and allow him to roam alone, I would say “stop” for him to stop clapping my hands and cheering every time he did it just right all by himself.
As he continued to roam around I would have him stop periodically.
I did this on a day when I also wanted to get some yard work done. Our yard is near a busy street and I didn’t want him to get close to the road. So, I decided that he would be allowed on the grass (separated from the street by a flower garden) and on the walkway (which was separated from the road by the driveway.) I began weeding some of my plants and continued to play the game, giving generous applause for the stopping. It worked a treat, and I was sure to let him know “What a good boy! Look at you!! You can stop! Good boy!”
And since kids love to show off, I added reinforcement to it by telling his Dad…”look at this! He can “stop!” He was one proud little toddler. And he had learned a valuable lesson. Two actually: a safety lesson; and the lesson that people will be pleased with you when you do as you are told.
You would be surprised how much help kids can be. Here are some of the chores my 2 boys help with. They are currently 8 and 12.
Either boy can do these:
mirror/window washing (high traffic areas like entryways and kitchen)
transferring garbage from small bins to bags
bathroom cleanup and details (the younger one does picking up. mirrors and floors, the older one does the toilet, tub and sink.)
running laundry – they sort together, tag team the transfers, and work together to hang and fold. (I do my own laundry, so there’s no worry of damage to a special item.)
putting out/pulling in the trash cans or compost bins. (One child can do it alone, but they manage better together for some reason.)
That’s a lot of help around the house! If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I like “easy” Even if they only do 1 thing each day it keeps the house reasonably neat and clean. And of course I fill in the gaps and do a super good job when it’s my turn! This really only leaves me fully responsible for big jobs like kitchen, (fridge, oven,) walls, spring cleaning, and filter cleaning and replacement.
The younger you allow your children to help, the more competent they will be as they get older. And yes, I did say allow; not make. Young children want to be helping all the time.
It’s not efficient for you to let them when they first want to do it. But if you take the time to introduce them to the work and gradually give them more stringent expectations, they will become expert household engineers before your very eyes.
Have you heard parents counting while they wait for their child to comply with their instructions?
I don’t believe it in. I believe in children doing what they are told to do. Children should do what you said because you said it, not because you started counting to 3. It’s like a threat. (And sometimes a hollow one, don’t get me started on that one. That’s another post!)
“Give Mommy your toy.” Mother is gather playthings so they can leave to go home. Child continues to play with the toy.
“Mommy said, give me your toy.” Child continues playing and ignores her.
“Give me your toy…..(big pause)…. Mommy’s going to count…..(pause)…One (big pause) …..twooo (longer pause)….” Child plays with toy and either does or doesn’t hand over the toy. Regardless of whether or not the toy is handed over this whole interaction was a waste of time and it only teaches kids that you only mean what you said if you count.
Honestly, I’m always a little embarrassed for the Mom using this “technique.” To me, she is demonstrating that she hasn’t taught her children to respect her words only her threats of punishment.
Here’s how I got results with young children.
“Give Mommy your toy.” Child continues to play with toy.
I get down on their level, look them in the eye and say. “Did you hear me? I said give Mommy your toy.”
If they don’t do so immediately, I put my hands on their arm above the wrist, and make them pass me the toy.
If the child was looking at me when I said it the first time and I’m sure they heard me, I skip the middle step and simply make them do it.
If I am met with defiance or negative attitude, there is a time out immediately or at the soonest opportunity. Delaying a time out for long is not effective for young children. You just seem like you’re doling out random punishment.
Believe in your own authority. If you don’t, you can be certain no one else will – not even a two year old.