Kiaora te whanau
Itâ€™s always a nice feeling when you get to the end of the term and can reflect back on what have been some real highlights and also where we are heading next.
Thank you so much to all who made themselves available in one way or another, to support the PCG to make approximately 12,000 cheese rolls on Saturday! What a great team! As well as an amazing fundraiser that will benefit our current and future junior school children, it is an amazing way to fellowship and enjoy each others company and get to know one another better.
The junior staff recently attended an evening course with Nathan Wallis (formerly from the Brainwave trust) who shared with us some parenting tips for ages 2-7 years. Nathan comes from a background in neuroscience and has a delightful way of presenting his ideas on parenting. I loved it when in his introduction he stated the only behaviour you need to manage is your own! Of course he was eluding to the fact that children are clever mimics of our behaviour.
Nathan suggested 3 effective ways to helping children change their behaviour:
1. Positive rewardâ€¦every time you see the behaviour you want let your child know by positively reinforcing that behaviour eg â€œyouâ€™re playing patiently with your brotherâ€. Essentially what you pay attention to is what you are reinforcing.
2. Make the children think itâ€™s their ideaâ€¦.Teach them how to do things explicitly.
3. Tell your children what you want not want you donâ€™t want eg â€œsit on the chairâ€, not â€œdonâ€™t stand on the chairâ€
Nathan believes good behaviour is like an apprenticeship and children need training and their behaviour scaffolded. You wouldnâ€™t expect a first day apprentice carpenter to be able to build a house without learning how to hammer a nail. He suggests we empower children with as much detail as possible by describing the behaviour you want to see and that children need this 90-100 times before it is solidified in a childâ€™s brain.
Nathan also gave three useful steps to calming the brain when children are distressed. First, calm your child by making sympathetic, soothing comments, then validate their emotions by saying you understand that they are feeling frustrated, angry, sad etc. Lastly and only when they are truly calm and ready to listen, offer advice on how they could approach the problem in a pro social way next time. Often we are tempted to launch into the advice part before weâ€™ve actively listened to their problem.
Nathan also taught a technique he called â€˜love bombingâ€™. This technique he believes will grow strong resilient relational bonds between parents.
It takes about 10 minutes a day. You set aside this time with one child. You call it the their time when they are in complete control of what you and they do together. The child is allowed to choose an activity that you will do together for 10 minutes at least without any interruption or suggestions from you. They are in control. Nathan suggests that to start with children may test you and come up with things they are not normally allowed to do! He suggests that as long as its not hurting anyone or breaching your values, you do the activity as the child wishes. As the child becomes used to this it will become a more balanced situation and the pay off is a resilient, emotionally balanced young person who can trust that you will be there for them in tough times.
Hopefully you can find the time to spend special moments with your whanau these holidays and the break from the usual school term routine will refresh you and yours.