Thursday, September 29, 2016

CHOICES can be used as a discipline technique and as a means to help children focus. The clean up announcer, made the announcement. "it's time to clean up" " Ms. Delinda personally got Gabe's attention and told him face-to-face.  The class began singing the cleanup song and putting toys away. Gabe had trouble redirecting his focus from playing to cleaning up. Ms. Delinda said, “Gabe, you have a choice. You may pick up the big blocks first or the little blocks first. Which do you choose?” Gabe said, “The big blocks because I am strong.”
Most children can benefit from using choices as a guidance tool, especially children who need additional structure to be successful. Gabe is a good example. He needs more direction than some of the other children. Since he needs more guidance, the teacher is prone to giving him a lot of commands. “Gabe, get your lunch. Gabe, get in line. Gabe wait until the door is opened.” In his need for external structure from adults, Gabe misses out on some of the choice-making decisions other children acquire on a regular basis.
Instead of constantly directing children like Gabe with commands, we must offer choices. Choices:
👍 Give needed structure
👍 Practice in making decisions
👍 Exercise free will
👍 Build self-esteem
Choices are also helpful with compliance. A teacher is less likely to get resistance with “Katie, you have a choice to sit on the red tape or the blue tape,” than if the teacher simply says, “Katie, it is circle time. Sit down.” Since preschool children are developing autonomy and initiative skills, they sometimes like to assert themselves in response to adult commands. Choices provide the option of complying with adult wishes while still maintaining the “last word,” so to speak.
In order for the adult to deliver choices to children on a regular basis, two things are required.
1. The adult must think in terms of what he or she wants the children TO DO. We have been conditioned to think negativity—what we don't want them to do. “Don't run. Don't talk when I am talking.” "Don’t” thinking is detrimental to giving choices.
2. The adult must give the children two positive choices. Typically, adults have been trained to give the child one “good” choice and one “bad” choice to coerce the child into picking the one the adult wants. For example, children have been given the choice to pick up their toys or lose recess time. This is not a choice; it is a manipulation. A true choice is given when we, as adults, do not care which option the child selects.
This week's Conscious Commitment will help you, the adult, offer two, true, positive choices!
Conscious Commitment:
I willingly create choices for children. I first think, “What do I want them TO DO?” Then, I create two positive options to accomplish that goal.

Examples of Choices that may you keep your Conscious Commitment:
If you want a child to wipe off the table, you could create the options of “with a sponge” or “with a paper towel.”
If you want the child to hold your hand, you could create the options of "with this hand" (show your left hand) or "with this hand" (show your right hand).

If you want the child to go into his bedroom, you could create the options of "fly like an eagle' or "hop like a bunny."
Wishing you well,

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