Thursday, March 31, 2011

Potty Training 101

When parents say, "I'm training my child to use the toilet," what they really mean is, "I'm training myself to remind my child to use the toilet." Unfortunately, this often turns into a power struggle, with parents saying, "You will," and children saying, "I won't. You can't make me." Parents use all kinds of tricks to win the potty training battle: treats, pleading, lectures, threats, and even punishment.

Although children naturally want to do what "big" people do, not every child is ready for potty training at the same time. Moreover, if parents push too early, training is likely to backfire, producing unwanted behaviors. Some children use it to get undue attention from their parents. Some turn it into a battleground to prove who is boss. Less assertive children can develop a sense of self-doubt or shame.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Positive Discipline and the Wheel of Choice

Dear Dr. Jane Nelsen,

Early in the school year my first grade students were introduced to the Positive Discipline Wheel of Choice during our classroom meetings. We use the Wheel of Choice daily to solve problems and come up with solutions. While role-playing a problem during a classroom meeting, the children discovered that each of them had their own solutions that worked best for them in any given situation. As an extension to this idea, the children created “Wheel of Choice Mobiles.” Each child first created a 5 inch “self-portrait” detailing everything from their hair to what clothes they like to wear. Next, they picked four strategies that they thought they could best use when trying to solve a problem. Then, we attached the four different strategies from their mobiles and hung them above their table spots. As a result, when the children are faced with an immediate problem they simply look up at their own mobiles and are reminded of the strategies they think works best for them. The mobiles have hung above their tables since the beginning of the year and still work as effective problem solving tools. They also celebrate their individuality and represent multiple ways to problem solve problems.

Employing Positive Discipline in the Classroom has been the most effective form of emotional and social development I have ever encountered. It is so pleasurable to be a teacher in an environment that empowers children to have a voice to share feelings and teach empathy. The children have become thoughtful, caring, reflective and effective problem solvers in a short amount of time. It has been most surprising that children at the ages of 6 and 7 can exemplify communication skills that many adults have yet to obtain. The positive supportive language between the students is quite astounding and has created a classroom filled with love, respect and intrinsically motivated learning. Thank you for your inspiring program!
Tammy Keces
New Horizons School
Irvine, CA

The Principal of New Horizon School has posted several large Wheels of Choice on outside walls where students can easily refer to them.