I have been reading Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen. It is a great book with lots of really good suggestions. I recommend it to anyone. Dr. Nelsen has put together a set of 52 "tools" to use with kids. They range from scheduling special time to family meetings to using silent signals. At The Learning Tree we've been following her blog and taking one tool each week to focus on with the kids. Last week the tool was "Put kids in the same boat". I read her blog post here and I gotta be honest....I wasn't super excited about this one. I can't exactly pinpoint why, but it just didn't seem "fair". However, I put my best foot forward and looked for a chance to use it. I got my chance one afternoon during clean up time. One little 6 year old boy (we won't mention that it was my own son...haha!) was LESS than excited about helping at all. He never really likes clean up time and does whatever he can to get out of it. In the meantime, all the other kids are working and before you know it the job is done and he doesn't have to do any of it.
I decided it was the perfect chance to try "putting kids in the same boat". I asked everyone to stop and come hang out on the couch with me. I explained to the kids that it didn't really seem right that some kids were cleaning up while others were not and so we would just hang out together until we were ALL ready to help. And while we were sitting there I saw the perfect opportunity for an impromptu class meeting (another tool in the Positive Discipline playbook). Instead of telling them what we were going to do, I asked for their help in solving this problem. It took a bit, but eventually we came up with a solution together. Ultimately it was the "problem child" that came up with a solution that worked. I smiled about that for the rest of the day!
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