Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Teaching character

.... and how to teach your children to NOT interrupt
Here at Sunny Days Daycare I like to say that we teach MUCH more than just the ABC's and 123's. Yes, those are very important but so is Sharing, Sympathizing with others, Helping Each Other, Obeying With a Smile, Listening with Two Ears, Picking Up Toys, Willingly Doing What Needs to be Done..... Treating Others (and their teachers) with Respect. 

What is character to you?

At Sunny Days we teach children that to have a good character is to be gentle, helpful, respectful to adults and other children by being 
  • Responsible With Our Things ~ by Sharing, Helping others and Picking up our toys.
  • Treating Our Friends Kindly ~ by being Gentle, by Listening and Helping Them if they are having a hard time, Helping their friends Pick Up or Showing Them how to complete a task.
  • Respectful to Adults ~ by Listening with Two Ears, Answering When Spoken To, Being Honest, Picking Up when asked and Coming when called.
Character Traits are taught to children in several different ways. 

1. One way character traits are taught is by helping kids pick up and saying "Let's help Susie pick up the blocks so it doesn't take as long to get done". Or if Johnny is having a rough day and he's struggling with a project "Let's see if we can help Johnny finish putting his socks on." It's by modeling the preferred behavior and physically showing the children what needs to be done. Children are visual learners and need to see the adults in their lives actively showing them what to do.

2. Children learn how to respect their peers and elders by being respected by THEIR elders. One of the things we see at Daycare is that children have learned to ignore people who speak to them.  Often when I'm running errands I'll say hello to people and people no longer say hello back. There is an unfriendliness that wasn't there when I was growing up. And children should not learn this by seeing their parents ignore others when out on the street ~ adults can still be careful and yet still use common sense when being around others. Children need to see their parents or caregivers give eye contact, smile, turn to the speaker and answer in complete sentences and not slang. They also need to be trained to wait patiently after saying their parents name for mom/dad to turn to them to answer their question and to remember their question. 

HOW to train your child not to interrupt your conversation with a 1000 mom's in various intonations:  
1) Tell your child... If mom/dad is talking with someone they need to wait patiently beside you and as soon as a quiet moment comes up you will help them. They can touch your arm and say "mom I have a question" ONE time so you know they need you.
2) Tell them that you will hold your finger over your lips (in a hush motion) and they are to wait quietly without talking. (This means you won't be irritated and the child won't be upset when you tell them to stop interrupting and they will know you heard them).

and then.... 
As soon as there is a lull in the conversation turn to your child and help them.

3) Tell your child if it is an emergency (and cover what constitutes an emergency) they may interrupt you and say "mom, so and so is ________".

Another important behavior that needs to be learned as early as possible is the ability to listen and answer questions.

It is so very important that children learn to answer questions that are directed to them. Such as, "How are you today Tommy?" or "Jenny, Did you pick up the blocks like I asked you to?" Children need to learn to express themselves and they need to learn to answer and carry a conversation in simple sentences and explain what or how they have done something. "I don't know" and ignoring someone is not the answer.

Do you have any tips on Teaching Character? I'll start...

I love to use the Howard B Wigglebottom series of books to teach about character. They give great examples of behavior that we see in kids everyday... and then show the kids in a gentle and yet helpful way how to behave correctly. Click here: https://wedolisten.org/media/ to hear/see a FREE animated story. =D

I'd love to hear your ideas...

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