Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Neurology of Montessori

This is a wonderful article on why the Montessori method works so well for children, according to brain research.

Thank you Lori Bourne at Montessori for Everyone for putting this together!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Playdate altercations

How would you all have handled this situation - during a playdate near the end (lunch, tired and hungry kids) one child starts yelling at another to let go of a toy. kids age range form 3-7; child yelling is 5. child being yelled at is 3.

If the child yelling is trying to take the toy from the 3yo, I would gently put my hand on the child's shoulder and say "Would you like a turn with toy? You can ask so and so, so that he/she know that you want the toy. Yelling so loudly is hurting my ears, but if you ask nicely perhaps so and so will give you a turn." Generally children respond to a request like this. If the 5yo refuses to stop yelling, I would ask him or her to go to a place where he or she can yell and not disturb others (this may mean requesting the parent remove the child from the playgroup until he or she is calm, to their car, a restroom, perhaps take the child home.) If the child does calm down and is polite I would say "I love the way that you were using such polite words. That makes my ears feel much better." Even if he or she does become calm and politely requests a turn,there is the possibility that the 3yo says no the child cannot take a turn (in the 3yo eyes taking a turn means immediately giving up the toy) so in that case I would tell the 5yo "He/She is still using the toy. When he/she is finished it can be your turn. While you are waiting you can use this toy (giving a substitute), or you can just wait until he/she is finished." It is important that you do not force the child that has the toy to give it up to make the other one happy, or require sharing. One child's time with an activity is just as important as another child's. If the 3yo does share or immediately give the other child a turn I would say "I bet that made so and so very happy." This way the 3yo knows that his or her actions had a positive impact on someone. Sharing should be something spontaneous, not forced because good or nice children share.

If the 3yo took something from the 5yo and the 5yo was yelling trying to recover said item, there is legitimacy in his or her yelling. I would gently put my hand on his or her shoulder and say "Is there a more polite way that you could ask for your toy back?" Then see what happens. Generally, a child can calm down when snapped out of the fit of rage by a gentle voice. If the 3yo does not comply with the polite request of the 5yo to return the toy, then I would step in and say to the 3yo "So and so was still using that. If you would like a turn you could ask him or her for a turn when he or she is finished. Right now, though, you must give it back to so and so." If the 3yo complies (and they usually do, the taking of a toy is generally an impulse and after the impulse they realize they were wrong), I would say to the 3yo "Thank you for returning the toy to so and so, I bet the made him or her feel much better. Would you like to ask for a turn with it when he or she is finished?" If the 3yo does not return the item I would say further "You can give the item to him or her or you can give me the item (then I would give the item back to the injured party)." and if still no compliance you may need to request the parent takes the child home, as he or she is not cooperatively playing. In a school situation or if my child were the one that was not being cooperative I would say "You can give me the toy now and you may not use anything else until you are ready to be polite." If it is my own child I may say I was taking her home because she was not being polite.

I would also request to the playdate organizers that the playdate either not be quite so long or not run into lunch time, because that is a brewing grounds for trouble. A parent meeting for regular playdate groups to lay down ground rules for when you should take a child home is often helpful. I would step in even if the parent is there and not responding (I even do at the mall playground and such) because I am trained to handle these situations and many parents feel ill equipped to handle them and are often thankful. Even if the parent is not, it is still a learning opportunity for the other children/parents in the group.