Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
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LEARNING FROM SHAMU
Seaworld never fails to amaze us with their ability to train killer whales, dolphins, and seals to jump through hoops, ring a bell, or jump four at one time. We have trouble getting our kids to put on their coats. How does Seaworld do that? They have an entire website (www.seaworld.com) dedicated to sharing their animal training talent with us. There’s also a marvelous book Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor along the same lines. Seaworld calls their technique “the ABCs of positive behavior”, and their website includes videos. Here’s a summary:

Activator – This is where you let your child know what you expect. It has to be specific, as in “Put on your clean clothes before you come for breakfast.”

Behavior – Whether your child performs the request or not, you have to remain totally positive by reacting with consequences that keep the situation positive and reinforce the original request.

Consequences – When your child complies with your request, it must be reinforced with a hug, a comment of appreciation, or some other varied reward. If your child did not comply, stay positive and break the request down farther into something that can be done. If the request was to get dressed, help him get his socks on. You can also model the behavior, as in dressing together before coming for breakfast, or maybe making a game to see who can get dressed faster.

The Seaworld website includes specific tasks like how to get your child to clean up. Shamu cleans up too. The most basic thing is to stay positive. Killer whales do not react well to yelling. Neither do kids. If the cleanup task is not progressing the way you want it to, try redirecting. At first, start small. Shamu starts with one toy. You can demonstrate how the job is to be done. When that goal is achieved, the behavior has to be reinforced, maybe with an “atta boy” or a high-five. Your task is to make positive associations with the desired behavior. The rewards have to be varied, even including special time doing a fun thing together. Let your child feel your pride.

If you’re having trouble getting your child to share, the same principles apply. We don’t “share” at the school, but there is a lot of equipment so that every child has something to choose. You can role model sharing by sharing a cookie, a book, or not taking too long before you give up your turn with the TV. Trying new foods and potty training are other topics the Seaworld website addresses. The biggest challenge for most of us is the staying positive. Parenting makes us all grow up.

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