It is funny how sometimes we forget some of the simplest strategies to use in the classroom and at home….including me. As I began writing this post, I realized that I did not have rules posted in my own home for my 2 and 3-year-old. We have actually been having some trying times with different issues, so posting the rules in the house and actually using them (pointing to them) is strategy our household needed. Just as you would in the classroom, we determined which rules needed to be posted….I did not want to have too many, just the must important ones at this time. Once we determined the four main rules, I made sure to state them positively. Instead of “No hitting, pushing, or kicking”, I phrased it “Nice hands”.
Most teachers have their expectations or rules visually displayed within the classroom. And some teachers have the class create the rules as a group to help form a classroom community, but many times we forget to refer to them or use them when correcting student behavior. When a student is not following a classroom expectation, simply point to the rule. Constantly referring back to the classroom expectations, especially during the first few months of school, gives students gentle reminders. Refer to the rule number instead of the actual rule, such as “You are not following rule number 3, please stop”. This way it is very clear and the teacher and student typically become less likely to become entangled in a power struggle.
We have been doing this same strategy in my house the last two weeks. It took a little while for the girls to catch on (using visuals for young children is especially important), but now they know the rules. If one of them is not listening, I will say “Please listen to Mommy. What is rule number #1?” My three-year old will go over and point to the rule and repeat it. Of course, this is not always the case and sometimes we have already hit non-rational 2 or 3-year-old mode, but their behavior has improved and we are still working on it!! Practice makes perfect at home and at school!