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Teaching Children: Dance and Discipline

Today I had the most wonderful experience after one of my classess. One of my students a 4 year old boy latched on to my leg and proclaimed “I’m going with you!” Sorry J I have to go to another school you have to stay here at your school. Your parents will be looking for you at the end of the day I told him. That didn’t move him one bit still attached to my leg he persisted.” I don’t want to let go. I want to go with you!”

I looked at him fondly remembering all the times I had to sit him in the audience to watch the class until he would change his behavior. Our biggest challenge was keeping him from hitting the other students and following directions. He felt that at any time during the class he could do whatever he wanted to do. It did not make a difference how many times that I would explain that it was time to do another activity or that dance class was over he would throw the fit of life.

So on and on it went class after class, he would yell at the top of his lungs what he wanted to do and I would lower my voice and calmly explain that we use our inside voices inside the school and continued with class. Then he would throw something or hit someone and I would calmly take him by the hand and explain, ” We do not throw things or hit people when we don’t get our way. Are we going to have to sit in the audience today until we calm down or feel better.

Of course the answer would be absolutely yes Ms. D’TaRelle because (according to his actions) even after continued explanations he would still continue. After about 2 months of this and withholding his reward of three stamps after class, he started to come around. The times of his misbehavior grew further and further apart until today he is a well behaved boy 90% of the time.

There were lots of trips back to his regular class, tears and tantrums as well as hugs of encouragement and congratulations when he behaved well. It really does work to catch them in the act of behaving well. The minute you see that let them know and let them know as often as you see it.

The teachers and I were talking as they finally peeled him off of me how some children just want discipline. What I think children want is predictablity, attention,  acknowledgement and love. They need to know that you care about them enough to correct them and also accept them the way that they are.

They can feel and sense the difference when the correction is given out of anger and frustration or out of patience and love. Consistency and patience are essential during this process, it is all apart of the process of learning.

Becoming a disciplined person and learning about what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior as well as cause and effect are very helpful skill sets for children to learn. If this is done age appropriately it helps build confidence and socialization skills, two life long skills that will benefit children into adulthood.

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