“Don’t kick the sand out of the sandbox or you’ll be put in a time-out!”

“You can’t play rough or you won’t be allowed to play with (him or her)!”

“If you don’t listen during story-time, we won’t be reading any more books!”

As children develop mentally, they often assert their new-found talents. They figure out how to be rambunctious, how to take the toy away from their playmate and how to disobey what they’re being asked to do. Although these actions may be interpreted as undesirable by adults, the child is often testing their footing along a path they just discovered. It does not mean that corrective measures should not be applied, but what those measures entail and how they are applied make all the difference.

The three examples above are broad illustrations of negative discipline. IF something happens or does not happen, THEN a negative consequence will follow. This method may modify behavior in the short term, but can eventually develop into unhealthy behaviors later in life. When the “negative consequence” becomes part of a child’s way of thinking and a correlation is made between the “negative” and the “resolution” of said situation, it may become a logical choice of action in future contexts.

Let’s try the same negative examples above with a positive spin.

“If you are careful to not kick sand out of the sandbox, we can play here longer.”

“We can do another round of jump-rope, but only if you play respectfully with (him or her).”

 “There is an awesome new book we can read today if you pay attention to the one we are reading now.”

Positive reinforcement goes a long way. Would a child rather play for a longer time in the sandbox, or sit in a time-out? The answer is obvious. Positive discipline encourages them to make the better choice themselves, without the threat of something they dislike. A correlation is now being forged between “positive behavior” and “positive outcome”.

The Learning Lodge always takes a positive approach in every interaction with children. As part of the nurturing environment which we aspire to provide, we feel that every situation presents an opportunity for growth and an opportunity to learn something positive.