Communication with children works best when it is clear and uncomplicated. Engaging them with endless decision-making questions about what they want to wear, play with or do overwhelms young children and they can often feel overly conscious, even burdened. Children need for us to provide them with the security that can come from our making decisions for them.
Here are some hints based on our accumulated years of experience. “May” is the magic word when working with children, as in, “You may clear your place.” It is neither authoritarian nor permissive but carries a quality of privilege; it invites the child to be the beneficiary of your guidance and loving authority. Sometimes children can be unruly or defiant. Staying calm and centered while addressing them helps children to regain their composure. Explaining and reasoning with them often does no good, because developmentally, they are not yet capable of reason and logic on the same level as an adult. It is our experience that this approach of reasoning a child into compliance prematurely awakens the intellect and pulls them out of the dreamier world of childhood, and is so rarely effective.
Oftentimes a rhythmic lifestyle creates the security and sense of expectation that lessens the need for discipline. The comfort of knowing what is coming eliminates the insecurity that can lead to unruly behavior.
Within the classroom the children learn through imitation and self-discipline. We strive to achieve this by:
a) providing appropriate play spaces that foster imagination,
b) communicating through clear verbal messages with limited
c) establishing a rhythmic lifestyle,
d) offering real work experiences to develop a sense of purpose,
and e) maintaining a positive attitude.
Each of these may be incorporated or adapted to the home
setting. Each has its own inherent value in the establishment
and maintenance of discipline.