Toddlers and Pre-K

CONNECTING WITH YOUR CHILD

Connecting means bringing your whole being — your attention and awareness —
into this moment with your child; being mentally and emotionally present for your child.

  • Connecting calms/builds the brain and strengthens your relationship with your child
  • Every human cooperates for those she feels connected to
  • Fill your child’s “love tank” daily; Daily connection rituals; Weekly Family Meetings
  • When a “rupture” happens in your relationship with your child, REPAIR it! (Apologize
    and reconnect when you “mess up” … there’s no such thing as perfect parenting!)
  • Create cooperation with connection

1. Get down on his level; Make loving eye contact; Put your hand on his shoulder

2. Get curious about what he is doing (ask questions/make observations)

3. Once you have “connected” then move forward with your request

EMPATHIC LIMIT SETTING AND TEACHING INSTEAD OF PUNISHING

  • Research suggests that children who are punished (including with timeouts and

consequences) exhibit more bad behavior, not less. Make the commitment to no

spanking, yelling, timeouts or parent contrived consequences.

  • Discipline means “to teach:”

1. Decode the behavior: Why is she acting this way? Look deeper to see what may

be behind the behavior (iceberg)

2. Connect before you correct: Communicate through words/nonverbals that you

are on her side; Validate her feelings/experience (“Name It to Tame It”)

3. Set limits with empathy

4. Consider: (1) What lesson do I want to teach? What skill building does my child

need (inhibiting impulses, managing feelings, considering the impact of her

behaviors on others)? (2) How might I best teach this lesson?

CONNECTION FIRST APPROACH TO DISCIPLINE

  • Meet your child where he is; Communicate through words/nonverbals that you are on his side; Look deeper to see what may be behind the behavior (iceberg)
  • Validate his feelings/experience (“Name It to Tame It”)
  • Set an empathic limit: Give a boundary and then validate his feelings/experience (love him through his upset)
  • What lesson do I want to teach in this moment? (sharing, acting responsibly, self-control?)

Community Programs

Docs in the Park Reach out and Read Girls on the Run United Way of Frederick Maryland Interagency Early Childhood Committee Mental Health Association LiveWell Frederick Family Resource, Information & Education Network for Down Syndrome
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