Take time for training is #8 on Jane Nelsen’s list of Positive Discipline Guidelines and as Harold Stolovitch and Erica Keeps know, Tellin’ Ain’t Training [American Society for Training and Development, 2011.] Sometimes parents confuse telling with training. We all know what telling looks like, but what does training look like?

Taking time for training can look like many different things. Here’s a list of ideas that take time to teach children what to do and how to do it – without telling them. Many of these idea are Positive Discipline tools included in the Positive Discipline Tool Card set.

  1. Routines – Help children create routine charts to encourage self-discipline.
  2. Curiosity Questions – Ask instead of tell to invite children to think and choose. (What’s next on your chart?)
  3. Do the Task Together at First – Complete tasks with your children instead of for them. Put your dishes in the dishwasher alongside your child until your child learns the habit. Make breakfast with your child. Clean out a messy backpack with your child.
  4. Avoid Pampering – It’s often easier to do tasks for kids, rather than take the time and patience to allow children to complete a new task. Focus on the long range goal of teaching independence and confidence building.
  5. Let Your Child Struggle – Avoid Rescuing – Again, it’s easier and faster for us to complete tasks, but struggling builds persistence, confidence and communicates to your child that you have faith in him or her.
  6. Allow for Mistakes – Making mistakes is part of the learning process. Expect children to make mistakes while they are learning.
  7. Give Encouraging Words – Acknowledge effort and success. Express faith in your child that they will eventually master the task.
  8. Natural Consequences – If your child forgets his lunch, resist the urge to run back to school to give it to him. Have faith in your child to figure out a solution. If your child calls and asks you to bring the lunch, ask what else he can think of to solve the problem.

Humans learn through best through experience, not by someone telling them what to do. We know this is true or else we’d never hear parents say, “But I’ve told you a hundred times.”

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