We are exploring the ideas of gentle discipline for a few days with our founder, Mia Carr, closing with the toddler years of 2-3.
How to handle the "Do-It-Myself" stage.
Teaching our children to manage themselves is our supreme goal as it leads to lifelong SELF-discipline.
Around the 2 year mark, baby starts to be able to verbally communicate more effectively and so we move away from distracting and begin to give choices and explain the why behind what we are asking.
This age comes with an intense desire to do things on their own. We must give them controlled successes in order to build their confidence in their decision making abilities.
For example, in our house, if they want to eat ice cream for breakfast we explain why its not the best idea and say, "We don't eat ice cream for breakfast. That will make you feel sick. You don't want to feel sick, do you?"
We then allow them to be in control and we say, "So, which would you like? Eggs or oatmeal?" Sometimes you need to go over this several times. "No. Ice cream will not make you feel good. Do you want to have energy to run and play? Then you can choose to eat eggs or oatmeal."
When they choose oatmeal, we say, "good choice! That will make you feel good." This conversation is on-going through nearly every area of their little life. They are learning the internal dialog that takes place in order to learn how to make good decisions.
They must also be allowed freedom to explore their own limits so they can learn for themselves what is right for them and what is not. Letting them climb the ropes at the park that makes a little afraid is good! Encourage them and don't nervously watch over. Tell them to go for it! Of course don't let them do something actually dangerous, then you need to revert back to explaining consequences and giving choices.
Tomorrow we will take a look at temper tantrums and how to gently handle those without throwing one ourselves. We are in this together guys!
HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE DO-IT MYSELF STAGE?