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Giving Children A Chance: Disciplining So They Get It

My sessions are designed to contain structured and unstructured activities. Even though an activity may be unstructured there is still  a desired objective I am trying to achieve. For instance,  since it is warm  and more children will be playing outside my children are working with balls.  My students love the character balls, the ones with Spider Man and Jake the Pirate and Dinosaurs etc.

My purpose for working with balls are:

1. To develop rhythm and timing.

2. Develop hand and eye coordination.

3. Develop and enhance focus and concentration.

4. To learn to react and respond immediately to the word “Stop!”

In order to bounce a ball and keep it bouncing requires rhythm and timing. There’s also the knowledge of knowing just how much force to apply to get the ball to return back to your hand so that you can bounce it again and keep it going. You can see how this involves coordinating the movements of your hands and staying focused on the ball and the task at hand( dribbling or bouncing the ball).

During this time of the year I am more concerned about the last purpose listed, having them learn to respond immediately to the word “stop”. Balls are  a really inexpensive form of play for children and both children and parents love them. When they are playing with their ball in front of their home and it goes out into the street children run after it.

The first words to come to a parent’s or adult’s mind is to call the child’s name or scream “Stop!” At that moment you have no time for playing around. There could be cars approaching and you want to avoid an accident. Children under the age of 12 cannot correctly assess how fast or slow a car is coming to make sure they are not hit. This is why there are children being hit by cars running after balls.

Any one that knows children know that children get really absorbed in playing with  balls. This is why I do this particular exercise is because I want to teach them to respond immediately when they hear the word “stop”.  So we are playing this game where they bounce the balls to the music and when the music stops and I yell “Stop!” they freeze immediately. The rules are no talking, playing, touching other people or bouncing the ball, everything must stop.

One of my students had a hard time doing this. He wanted to continue talking despite the warnings I was giving him. The rule is if you don’t follow instructions the ball gets taken away from you. This is what happen to this little guy and of course he had the fit of life! He wailed “I want my ball back!!” He went on and on through his tears, the fit escalating into jumping up and down.

With the ball in my hand I calmly say to him. Remember Ms. D’TaRelle said that when she said stop and the music went off everyone must freeze, and stop all movement. He shook his head yes. I then asked him if he would like to try again to get it right. He shook his head yes again and I gave him back the ball.  This little guy was successful through out the rest of the class and we were both happy.

So the next time your child makes a mistake give them an opportunity to correct and learn from his mistake. It is much more effective than scolding and shaming. In fact this is better for their esteem, he learns that he can have self control and that he was able to do what you asked. Try this with your child and let me know how it turns out. I’d love to hear from you. Have a fun day. D’TaRelle :-)


2 Responses to “Giving Children A Chance: Disciplining So They Get It”

  1. I love this idea of giving a child the chance to fix their mistake rather than scolding them. It takes a lot more patience to employ such an approach but I have seen too many times the looks in my children’s faces when I’ve been short on patience and taken the scolding route. The look says it all….you’re crushing my spirit!

    Thanks for this.

    • D'TaRelle F. Tullis says:

      It is that very look that you describe Hilarie that prompted me to start doing this. The last thing I want to do is crush a child’s spirit. I feel it’s my job to help and support their spirit in thriving and growing. I am interested in benefiting the entire child not just their cognitive or physical development but all of them. You’re right it does take a lot more patience but so worth it in the end. I also love the fact that they get it right away and can make the connection for the future. Sometimes they remember and sometimes not but we can give them a gentle reminder to get them back on track. It also requires us taking care of ourselves so that we are in a position to be patient and compassionate. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting Hilarie and please do so again. :-)

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