Conscious Discipline Cheat Sheet

This Discipline Tips page is a nice introduction to the philosophies and techniques of Conscious Discipline, and a great 'busy parent's cheat sheet.' I'm thinking of Conscious Discipline this week because: 1) my daughter's school uses it as its main philosophy in guiding students' handling of frustration and upsetting situations, and 2) I've been wondering a bit why some weeks are so much easier than others after the grandparents' last visit, which corresponded with a particularly trying week. Seriously, I wouldn't say that my kid is prone to meltdowns, but she was that week. In her defense, she was recovering from being ill and also being asked to participate in all types of shopping activities at times generally reserved for naps and snacks. So, maybe that's the mystery of the tricky week solved in a nutshell. Still, it was rough enough that my mom sent me 1-2-3 Magic in the mail when she got home. (Lot of laughing here when we opened the package. Obviously, the week was going a lot easier by that point).

The main takeaway points I've gleaned from Conscious Discipline as it is practiced at FB's preschool are:

1. It is natural that children and adults alike get frustrated when things aren't going their way. Try to see a frustrated child in a generous light, rather than amplifying the situation by assuming the worst, most devious motivations to their actions. A melting down child is one that is frazzled and has no other strategies to try to control a situation. We all have meltdowns from time to time. The meltdown time is an opportunity to teach your child more productive ways to deal with frustration.

2. Calm yourself and focus on your child before acting. You can't teach your child calming tactics while freaking out yourself.

3. Help your child calm down - with patience, breathing, listening, and words. Once the child is calm, then you may offer more productive choices or a redirection.

Step three was the one that was breaking down for me during what I've come to think of as 'headache week.' I was trying to get things done while FB was still frustrated and anxious, and it wasn't going well. Of course, I don't *love* everything on the Conscious Discipline website - the suggestion that toddlers simply can't understand the word don't as meaning do not, for example, sounds preposterous to me. Mine knew that don't was a command not to do something, but I do see that there are more effective ways to give the command. "Walk" instead of "Don't run" - as 'don't run' immediately makes anyone think of running (and, yes, want to run). All in all, I've really been appreciative of Conscious Discipline since first being introduced to it - and the Discipline Tips page is a great primer.


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