Last week I gave you some of my best ideas about getting kids to clean up without using threats. At the end of this article, you'll find one more secret I forgot to include and it's a great one to use when all else fails. Not only that, it models cooperation and empathy over one-upmanship and competition.
Childcare, Quality, or Affordability?
I suppose that depends on your perspective. What should we focus on?
Are you a parent, a professional childcare provider, a teacher, or a grandparent? I’m proud to say that I’m all of the above. And I know this isn't an either/or question. We need both. Here's why:
In the first few years of life, more than 1 million new neural connections form every second. After this period of rapid proliferation, connections are reduced through a process called pruning, which allows brain circuits to become more efficient. In light of these findings, focussing on early childhood only makes sense. -Center for the Developing Child, Harvard University-
It's so amazing that current brain research on the developing minds of infants and toddlers is pointing to the fact that the development of the amygdala, the center of emotional regulation
in the brain is happening extremely rapidly during the first 3 years of life. The newest research is looking at its role in focus, memory, and attention.
The amygdala is to the brain as the "motherboard" is to a computer, a foundational structure that enables new connections to be formed. The connections that get used more often, become the preferred pathways.
This scientific research gives me some hope for the future of early childcare and development.
In the computer world, the programmer would be responsible to choose the pathways it takes to solve a problem. Who decides for humans?
Those who spend the most time with them?
Those whose words are heard over and over again?
Those who provide a model for emotional regulation and coping with problems?
Perhaps parents and providers who care for children during the first few years of life are the ones that decide. Yet childcare teachers make an average of 17. per hour compared to the 50. per hour that dog trainers make in the US. Full-time parents make nothing and working parents are forced to return to work way earlier than in most other developed countries.
We adults who choose these routes may have a lot to complain and worry about but the children under the age of 3 who are affected by our decisions aren't able to complain because they can't yet articulate what's happening to them. They just live it.
This is why I advocate for high quality as well as affordability in childcare. And that's why I call on our government to help us provide it. Only10-15% of childcare is considered high quality. That's not good enough in light of the most current brain research.
Yet parents can't afford to pay and teachers can't afford to stay. I'm proposing a coffee and soda tax with a government match as a place to start funding multi-sensory and emotional education in early childhood. Are you one of the elite providers, parents, and caregivers who agree?
Here are 2 things you can do today.
1. Join us and 3,300 other Pinterest and website followers. Sign up for our weekly newsletter. It's free and fun. When you do you'll get a great free gift. It's a 22-page slideshow on How To Get Kids To Listen Without Yelling or Time-Outs. They're all one-liners, too, just to make it easier on everyone!
2. Share this website with one other parent or provider and encourage them to join us.
There is safety in numbers.
"THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE ROCKS THE WORLD" -William Ross Wallace- (adapted by Nanci j Bradley)
Here's my final cleanup tip. If you missed the others you might want to go back and look at this!
I work, you work...
When a child aged 2.5 and up is refusing to clean up, you might want to try the I work, you work method. First, explain the next fun event that will happen when clean-up is done and say something like, "I have time to help you now, but only if you help, too."
Put one toy away and say "I work, you work. You work, I work. Your turn." Encourage the heck out of them to put just one toy away. Then it's your turn. Keep this up until the job is done and you've encouraged true cooperation.
Nanci J Bradley is an early childhood and family educator, author, teacher, family aerobics instructor, and an all-around fun-loving person. She believes in the power of sleep, healthy eating, lifelong learning, and most of all, PLAY! She studied early childhood ed at Triton College and received her BS in education in 1986 from NIU. She received her MA in human dev from Pacific Oaks College in 2011. She lives and teaches in Madison WI and is the founder of early childhood rocks, a non-profit org dedicated to creating change through early childhood education.