Ways to Aid Self-Discipline

Change Parenting Attitude

  1. Parents first, child second – “Nurture Oneself”
    • Children are more likely to respect the parent, when the parent respects themselves.
    • Tired and stressed parents have difficulty setting boundaries.
    • When your “cup is empty” you have nothing left to give.
  2. The Media does not have to dictate how you parent. Do not let it convince you that your child needs this or that, because it will never be enough from the child’s perspective.
  3. Quality is more important than quantity. Stop feeling guilty when you can not spend enough time with your child. One-on-one “focus attention” (5-10 minutes daily) is more valuable to a child’s self-esteem than over indulging a child due to guilt.
  4. Be Okay with saying “No” and setting limits.

Dethrone Your Child

Halt the constant praise, rewards and “good jobs”, and start expecting good behavior.

Children Self-Discipline

Reinforce and Acknowledge positive behaviors when you see them

  • “Catch them when they are good.”
  • Be specific when you see positive behaviors, such as kindness, sharing, cooperation, respect, tolerance, sympathy, and empathy. (eg. “I noticed that you were helping your brother today. That was very kind of you.”)

Stress the importance of inner character and strength vs. outer performance and appearance.

Set clear limits with rules that:

  • are consistently reinforced
  • are reasonable
  • are flexible
  • are limited (3-5)
  • teach societal standards
  • protect the child’s physical health
  • protect everyone’s safety
  • respect “all living things”
  • focus more on “Dos” vs. “Dont’s”

State limits clearly:

  • Initiate eye contact
  • Use soft words
  • Speak naturally and slowly
  • Use only a few words
  • Tell the child what you want him to do vs. what not to do

Be calm but firm, when necessary.

Ignore minor misbehaviors.

Provide choices, but limit them (2-3 at most).

Don’t give a choice, if there is no real choice.

Use gentle reminders and review limits/rules, when necessary. (Note: Reminders are best given only once to reinforce positive outcomes and avoid power struggles.)

Provide consequences and encourage restitution, when necessary.

Teach patience by providing a place to wait or by giving a specific time frame, thus creating a “waiting habit”.

Teach altruism – Move from “Me” to “We” with opportunities for volunteering and donating to less fortunate.

Limit Screen Time.

Provide for daily opportunities of outside, open-ended, unstructured play.

Allow for purposeful daily activity at home where the child is a contributing member of the family (eg. Daily “Jobs”).

Be a positive role model for your child. (Never underestimate the power of the golden rule).

Have a “light-spirited” sense of humor toward parenting.

Anticipate that changing a child’s behavior does not occur overnight.

Nutrition & Health News for Families

Stress-Free Dinners

Getting dinner on the table every night is stressful for families. Between the school schedule, nightly homework, sports and everyday life, it is tempting to grab dinner from a fast food drive through. But with a little planning, you can make easy, healthy meals that the whole family will enjoy.

Here are a few ideas for stress-free meals:

  • Store-bought roasted chicken with fresh or frozen vegetables. Serve with milk or 100% fruit juice.
  • Breakfast for dinner! Scrambled eggs, toast, fruit and milk is always a family favorite.
  • Yogurt parfait with granola and berries. Your kids will think they are eating dessert for dinner.
  • Cheese of veggie pizza from your local pizzeria served with a sale of fruit and milk.
  • Prepare a double batch of sour of chili on the weekends and serve the leftovers on another night.

Kids in the Kitchen

Children love to help in the kitchen. Preparing dinner together is a great way to spend time together and find out about their day. Younger children can help with stirring and pouring ingredients. School-age kids love to chop and measure!


A fun, learning game in the kitchen is the Blindfold Test. Put spices and foods (like yogurt, bananas, peanut butter) in small dishes. Blindfold the kids and have them smell each item to guess what it is. Your child might end up trying and liking a new food!


Flaky Tomato & Mozzarella Tart

Ingredients: all-purpose flour, for the work surface 1/2 sheet puff pastry (1/4 of a 17.3-ounce package) 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes (halved if large) 4 ounces grated mozzarella (1 cup) 1 tablespoon olive oil kosher salt and black pepper

Directions: Heat over to 425 F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 9-by-6-inch rectangle. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Prick the puff pastry all over with a fork and top with the tomatoes and mozzarella. Drizzle with the oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, 20 t0 25 minutes. Cut into pieces before serving.

This is a perfect dinner for children to “help” make; make it a complete meal by adding a protein of choice: i.e. chicken, ham, beef, etc.

Eight Essential Ingredients For A Child’s Mental Health


Every child needs to feel loved and wanted, that he matters very much to someone, and that there are people near him who care what happens to him.


Every child needs to know that his home is a good, safe place he can feel secure about, that his parents or other protective adults will always be on hand, especially in times of crisis when he needs them most, and that he belongs to a group — that there is a place where he fits in.


Every child needs to believe that she is liked for herself, just the way she is, and that she is liked all the time, and not only when she acts according to other’s ideas of the way a child should act.


Every child needs to know that she will be encouraged to try new things and to grow, and that there is confidence in her and in her ability to do things for herself by herself.


Every child needs to feel that she will be kept safe from harm and that when she must face strange and unknown situations, someone will be there to help.


Every child needs to have a set of moral standards to live by and a belief in the human values of kindness, courage, honesty, generosity and justice.


Every child needs to know that there are limits to what he is permitted to do and that he will be held to his limits, and though it’s all right to feel jealous and angry, he will not be allowed to hurt himself or others when he has these feelings.


Every child needs to have “friendly” help in learning how to behave towards persons and things, and adults around him who show him the example of how to get along with others.

Bringing Montessori Home

As a parent and a teacher in a Montessori Early Childhood classroom, I have noticed a glaring disparity between my 7-year-old daughter’s behavior at home and at school. She does fine, independent work in her Montessori school environment, yet, when handed a broom after a mealtime at home, tearfully claims she does not know how to sweep.

At school, skills are introduced from the simple to the complex, with new elements added gradually. Challenging new work still contains enough familiarity so that the child can succeed. For example, children in my classroom practice tasks such as dry pouring, sponge squeezing, wet pouring, tray wiping, filling and carrying vessels of water, and mopping, all in advance of easel painting. Prior experience creates comfort, confidence, and skill in the child; this structured approach helps each child to work to her fullest potential.

Bringing Montessori Home

In this pursuit of independence, a child’s home and school environment can be each other’s greatest asset. However, creating a Montessori classroom in my kitchen and living room is simply not practical, though the two environments can provide mutual support as philosophical extensions of the same principles. The gifts we can give our children are adequate time, an economy of age-appropriate and well-communicated expectations, and trust in their innate capabilities, which are the same principles that support Montessori’s educational philosophy.

Very young children are capable of independent work at home, though they must be provided enough time and space to “do it myself.” For example, 3- and 4-year-olds can wipe and dust tables, fold towels, and sort silverware. Older children can clear dishes from the table, fold a wider variety of clothing, and wash windows. Tasks presented without time pressures inherent to modern life give children an opportunity to focus on the job at hand and use their available coordination to attack it. Children require little more than to be kept company while working. However, we parents must be less judgmental and more willing to accept less-than-perfect results as tasks are performed to the best of the child’s abilities.

Finally, our children deserve to experience the small struggles that often accompany skill acquisition. In my home, a high-pitched wail signals distress but not the genuine need for assistance. Despite my intellectual knowledge and training, I still suppress the urge to rush to my daughter’s rescue at the first sign of frustration. We rob our children of valuable learning opportunities when we step in, and worse still, may reinforce their sense of helplessness.

Montessori in the Home

I vowed to try a different approach with my daughter, remembering a quote from The Montessori Method: “The child who does not do, does not know how to do” (Montessori, p. 109). I began by analyzing the sweeping task and removing any sense of time restriction; we swept instead of taking a bath that evening.

I asked her to fetch a broom and was surprised to see her return instead with a small hand broom and dustpan. Apparently, these were the tools she had used in sweeping her own small area of her classroom. I had erroneously assumed that she knew how to use a regular broom to sweep a large area. After showing her how to use a child’s upright broom for this task, I walked away to give her space to work, despite her protests that it was “too hard.” Half an hour later, she finished the kitchen and offered to sweep the living room as well. While not a perfect job, the smiling child in front of me was visibly basking in the contentment of her independent endeavor.

I cannot say that my child has blossomed into an efficient, joyful sweeper of floors. However, that evening she began learning a valuable skill, and more importantly exceeded her own internal expectations. For me, this experience was a reminder that parents and teachers share the common goal of raising confident, independent children. If we as parents can take the time to provide better opportunities for children to do for themselves at home, we are assisting them as they grow into independent, competent adults.

Reference: Montessori, M. (2010). The Montessori method. Readaclassic.com.

Positive Side of a Montessori School

Only you can know what kind of preschool is right for your child. If you’re considering Montessori for your child, let’s discover some of the positive aspects of The Montessori Method.


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