Contributed by Cubba Reese, MSW, Bellevue College Parent Education Program 

Come hear the presentation on Wednesday, October 11 at KidsQuest. Click here for more information. 

In order for your House to be secure: LOVE is the FOUNDATION

How do we communicate love for our children every day?  What do we say and do to communicate Kindness and Firmness at the same time?

The Four Walls:

A.Knowledge: Knowing temperament and stages of normal development: What are reasonable expectations for their stage of development? What are they capable of doing with our help and support?

B. Structure, Limits, and Routines: These help your child feel safe.  They can relax and not fight the rules as hard when they are clear about what the limits and routines are. There are three kinds of limits that work for the young child:

C. Children always have a reason for their behavior. (All behavior is purposeful) Focus on the feeling or need behind the behavior, not the annoying behavior itself.

D. Trouble shooting: Be proactive when making decisions about how to support your child’s learning:

  • Are they tired, hungry, thirsty? Are our expectations out of whack with what they are able to produce consistently? Poor behavior often occurs when our expectation of their behavior has increased beyond what the child is capable of producing (moving, traveling, transitions, birthday party, visit from grandparents).

 The Roof of Your House: Teach and Encourage:

  • Teach new skills with lots and lots of opportunities for practice and mistakes
  • Encourage use of new skills by setting the stage, changing the environment when necessary, empathizing with their frustration, and being willing to repeat your lessons many, many times
  • Eliminate behavior we don’t want to see (Ignoring is one of the most powerful interventions for eliminating unwanted behavior)
  • Don’t rely on rewards, time-outs, and punishment – they are the least effective teachers

Building Your House: Some things to try in every-day life

  • Connection before direction (make eye contact, get close)
  • Guide them: use your gestures, a gentle touch
  • Direct them: “Take my hand, it’s time to go.” “Come and sit down.” “Let’s put the toys away.”
  • Offer a distraction (most effective under three years of age): Give them a toy to hold while you change a diaper
  • Offer choices: “You can wear the pink shirt or the yellow shirt”
  • Avoid battles that you can’t win: you can’t make them breathe, swallow, pee/poop, hurry, change their emotions
  • Your own creativity and resourcefulness – the Sky’s the Limit!

“Everything I always wanted to know about being a parent in 25 words or less: Always be bigger, stronger, wiser, kinder.  Whenever possible, follow their lead.  Whenever necessary, take charge.”     ~ Circle of Security

Cubba teaches for the Bellevue College Parent Education program. It provides year-long classes for children between the ages of 0-7 and their parents.  It provides a rich learning experience for children, and  child development information for parents.  Located on the BC campus and greater King County (Bellevue, Mercer Island, Sammamish, Snoqualmie, Carnation, Renton).  Over 50 years of service to King County families.