Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Shake Up Your Family Schedule ... and see how much fun you can have!

We hear how important it is to have quality time, family time, time to get out and exercise, time for enjoying your relationship with your partner or spouse. So maybe you have a date night set aside, but what about all those other nights? How do you pull it all together to make it work?

1. Talk a walk night. That’s right. Something simple like taking a neighborhood walk with the whole family. Take a stroller or wagon, bring the dog or a paper bag for litter pick up (don’t forget hand washing later) but align this with your family style. Just 20 or 30 minutes before dinner, before bath and couch time, before you go and do laundry. Breathe, walk and enjoy the luxury, the freedom, the weather and each other.

2. Picnic dinner. Take dinner to the front yard, back yard or neighborhood park. Take it out to your apartment deck….but take it out of your normal routine. This may be homemade or on a fast food night. Take it outside and make it fun. Spread a table cloth, eat and relax. Listen to each other’s stories, birds, and neighbors and make the meal count.

3. Make videos/dvds a special event not a built in babysitter. Label one night a week “Video Night”. Have your children draw the potential movies out of a hat, teach about democracy and have them vote, or go to your local library and pick out a movie for free! Make this a family shared movie. Discuss it and, once again make the evening count.

4. Kids eat free! We see these signs all around town. Make eating out with the kids an experience to: expand their vocabulary, expand and enrich their food tastes, broaden their cultural experience through the fabulous food we have… and allow the adults to be pampered. In order to teach children how to behave in public, you must practice. Go somewhere new. Try a new item. You can do all this on a budget and get home in time for bath!

5. Pick a social event and teach compassion and community. Every week or month have a special night that is serving others. Take dinner to grandma or great-grandma, have your children make or help with serving the homeless community, offer to host a potluck in your neighborhood. Extend your community and you will indeed enrich your life and the lives of your children.

Here are just a few ideas to shift, rather than change, your schedule. I hope they will inspire others. These ideas that might add a new sparkle into your home life and create memories forever. Put one or all of the ideas on the calendar and make a new family tradition. As I always say, start today.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What If?!

What if I had an idea that no one else thought was reasonable? What if I asked all the professionals to change their minds? What if I said, “Let’s throw away what you are doing and do something easier”? Do you think people would listen?

That’s exactly what happened when I developed the concept of: Safe, Kind and Clean as a teaching and discipline philosophy. It is so much more than “discipline” that I resisted using that term for years. People hear “discipline” and they think “punishment”. I was going to be more ‘enlightened’ so I called it Behavioral Education, and I still love that description. My first book was published under the title: Safe, Kind and Clean: Behavioral Education and it got lumped in, on the internet, with laundry products. No joke.

A friend of mine, and an Early Childhood Instructor at our community colleges introduced me to several of his colleagues and said, “This is Julie Jenkins Sathe. She wrote a book on discipline.”

Ta-da! That was it. No funny looks, no questioning smiles. As I shook hands, my squeamishness over the term discipline started to dissipate. Do you know why? They knew what my book was about! Voila!

Within a few months, I had re-titled and begun the branding process of Enlightened Discipline. This title does lump me in online with some spiritual books, but I’m much happier with that than the former confusion with janitorial services.

Enlightened Discipline is simple. It’s so easy, in fact, that I can’t believe someone else didn’t think of it before me. Of course, I do believe we all are thinking along similar lines and that’s why I hear all the time from workshop participants, “That’s what I was trying to say all along.”

The biggest challenge with Enlightened Discipline is not what you do; it’s what to leave out. One must entirely stop the “passive punishment”, usually in the form of Time Outs; that have been used - and have failed for years. So read on. Learn the simplicity of Enlightened Discipline. It is simple. But like so many things in life, simple doesn’t mean easy. Why? Because it requires the adults to change.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Don't Forget the WHY!

Enlightened Discipline really began with one thought. Time Outs don’t work. That was the thought. And all of the actions, practices and descriptions became natural as soon as I refused to use Time Outs as an option.

The hardest thing to do is to teach early childhood teachers to stop the behavior of Time Outs as any option, ever. Once teachers stop putting kids on Time Out, then they really begin to teach. Sometimes adults need to be taught and re-taught until they can feel the difference.

It’s our job, as those who support each other to key in on staff members who need us to “take the torch” in a specific situation. You know the times. You’re all heated and upset and just cannot wrap your head around the best response to a child that has brought you to the end of your rope. We’ve all been there. So, for those nearby….lend a hand to that teacher. Take the torch and let the struggling teacher take a break, or at least a backseat.

If you know you’re losing control, finesse or your emotions, also know that you must call for someone else to intervene for you. We are responsible for asking for help when we need it.

But let me sum up the truth about Time Outs - Peace Time, Quiet Time, Think About it Time or any of the passive punishments that adults use: If YOU are controlling the child’s
1) space or 2) time….. No matter what you call it, it’s a Time Out.

Once teachers and parents have released the option of a Time Out, then and only then can you truly embrace Enlightened Discipline. If you hang on to Time Outs as a last resort, you are giving yourself a crack to crawl through and the teaching will stop.

Enlightened Discipline is teaching the WHY in all behavioral situations. Why? There are only 3 possible answers: Safe, Kind or Clean. Why. It’s the underlying truth to how Enlightened Discipline is different. Don’t forget THE WHY.