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Is one of your kids driving you nuts?
Here’s a trick that just might help. I call it Paperclip Parenting.
First thing in the morning put two colors of paperclips in the back pocket of your jeans.
Then every time that day you find yourself catching your child being good and say something about it, (i.e. “Thanks for brushing your teeth without being asked!), move one paper clip to the front pocket.
Every time you catch your child being naughty and have a verbal interaction over it, (I told you to pick up your socks three times already!), move the alternate color paper clip to its front pocket.
At the end of the day link all of your paperclips together. You’ll get a good visual about what is actually going on. How much positive reinforcement is your child getting? How much negative? If you work harder to “catch your child being good” will that help?
The picture I’m showing in this example is just for props. Most likely you’ll have closer to 100 interactions with your child. At least that was the case with me, when I tried this experiment at home.
I did this behavioral modification experiment three days in a row with one of my children, and it really helped.
Maybe it will work for you too!
Please note, this post is not about either of my children (at the moment) thank goodness!
I hope no parent reading this post needs this information, but in case you do I’m sending you a big blogosphere hug! Here is some education for you as a parent, about the tools an elementary school teacher has at her disposal to help a child who is having chronic behavioral issues. I’m writing them out in a continuum, from a starting disciplinary measure to the most extreme.
- Notes home (the teacher is probably saving copies)
- Calls home (the teacher is probably making a record of these in her file)
- Loss of recess (the teacher is probably keeping track of this too)
- Staying after school (not really done any more, in my experience)
- Moving seats
- An isolated seat
- A seat with a cardboard “office” around it
- Being sent to the office (some teachers do this as a starter step)
- A conference with mom and dad to set up a behavioral plan (this is when all of those notes the teacher has been keeping come out)
- Sending a child to a lower-grade classroom to “shame” them (I don’t like this option)
- Sending a child to an upper-grade classroom to “make them afraid” (I don’t like this option either)
- Sending a child outside the classroom door to work (doesn’t work in CA schools because of the open floor plan)
- In-school suspension
And Now For Some Out of the Box Ideas That Can Help…
- Recess –This should be obvious, bud sadly is not. Make sure the child gets to go outside and play!
- Stamp books— Make a little book by the child’s desk and stamp it every time you catch the child being good
- Tactile discs for kids to sit on –Sometimes this helps kids with ADHD focus
- A classroom microphone for the teacher — Research has also shown that this can help children focus
- Sending a child to a lower-grade classroom for a few hours to feel safe, clear his head, and take a breather
- Paying attention to low blood sugar issues.
- Sending a child to walk a labyrinth
- Providing fidget toys for children
- Providing “a cave” in the classroom for children to take a break in
- Figuring out the hot-button times for a child, and then asking the school district to consider providing a Para-educator, adult volunteer, or older student buddy for those time-periods
Finally, one of the symptoms of being a chronic know-it-all is that I love to offer help and advice. 🙂 If you would ever like to email me privately with specific situations or children in mind, I can be reached at teachingmybabytoread at gmail dot com.