Positive Discipline

Positive discipline is a process of teaching children how to behave appropriately, placing emphasis on respecting the rights of the individual child, the group, and the adult. It differs from punishment in that punishment instructs children on what they should not do, and positive discipline educates children on what they should do. Punishment teaches fear while positive discipline promotes self-esteem.

We implement our Positive Discipline philosophy by observing the following guidelines:

Planning Ahead

  • Anticipate and eliminate potential problems

  • Have a few consistent, clear rules that are explained to children and understood by adults

  • Have a well-planned daily schedule

  • Plan ample opportunities for fun and humor

  • Include some group decision-making

  • Provide time and space for each child to be alone

  • Make it possible for each child to feel he/she has had some positive impact on the group

  • Provide the structure and support children need to resolve their differences

  • Share ownership and responsibility with the children

  • Talk about our rooms, our toys

Intervening When Necessary 

  • Provide individualized attention to help a child deal with a particular situation

  • Use time out – by removing a child for a few minutes from the area or activity so that she/he may gain self-control (One minute for each year of the child’s age is a good rule of thumb)

  • Divert and remove the child from the area of conflict

  • Provide alternative activities and acceptable ways to release feelings

  • Point out natural or logical consequences of children’s behavior

  • Offer a choice only if there are two acceptable options

  • Criticize the behavior, not the child- don’t say, “bad boy,” or “bad girl”. Instead we might say, “that is not allowed here”

Showing Love and Encouragement

  • “Catch the child being good”- respond to and reinforce positive behavior; acknowledge or praise, to let the child know we approve of what she/he is doing

  • Provide positive reinforcement through rewards for good behavior

  • Use encouragement rather than competition, comparison, or criticism

  • Overlook small annoyances

  • Give hugs and demonstrate caring to every child every day

  • Appreciate the child’s point of view

Positive discipline takes time, patience, repetition, and willingness to change the way we deal with children. But it’s worth it, because positive discipline works.