This month we’re focusing on the POSITIVES. Here are some links to guide you in positive parenting and discipline to build enjoyment and warmth into your home.
Short phrases parents can use to increase positive behavior
You may have heard the advice “Catch your child being good.” This is actually a great parenting strategy based on behavioral science. There are several reasons children behavior the way they do, but seeking parent attention is one of the top reasons. It doesn’t matter whether the attention comes from acting correctly or acting out, all attention is reinforcing.
The trick is to give more attention to your child when they are behaving in a positive manner. To notice what they are doing the right thing -- AND tell them so.
Here are some short phrases to guide you:
“Thank you for helping your sister.”
“Thank you for putting your toys away.”
Just like we want to know our hard work is appreciated every day, our children want to know their effort is noticed as well. Thanking children for their specific efforts or actions is more effective a generic phrase like “good job.” Descriptive and specific statement about behavior you liked allows a child to know exactly what you’re looking for, and repeat it in the future. So you might say…
“I see you….” or “I notice you…”
“I see you are trying to put on your shoes by yourself.”
“I notice you are trying hard to use your manner at dinner. I really appreciate that.”
Praising effort and small steps in the right direction is so important. This encourages children to keep trying and to stick with hard things. You teach your child to persist despite difficulty or delay in success.
“Wow, I saw you share the sand toys at the park with those two girls. What a great friend you are!
“Wow, you boys have been playing for 10 minutes quietly! Tell me about what you are building.”
If you consistently give children specific, meaningful praise for good behavior, you will begin to notice a behavior change. Children naturally crave their parents’ approval, and providing focused attention and specific praise to positive behaviors is the first step towards influencing behavior and bonding with your child at the same time.
A few more thoughts….
You may find it difficult to find things to praise their child because their behavior can be overwhelming a good deal of the time. You will have to make the intentional choice to do so and concentrate on building this habit. Noticing positive behavior is like any habit — you get better with practice. Even if you have to keep a tally on your cell phone, a good goal is to give your child three or four instances of praise for each negative remark.
The flipside of positive attention is to give minimal attention to negative behaviors. What does that even look like? It’s a huge topic that we’ll focus on next month in “Keep It Short.”
I’m a wee bit late getting this newsletter pulled together for you this month, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet.
Thank you for your patience with us as we make adjustments to how we handle Early Care and Extended Day. We will continue working out our systems to balance flexibility (for you) with consistent and dependable care for your munchkins.
Enrollment for 19-20 is open for families in our community. We still have a few spots in all age levels so spread the word to your friends.
You may have heard by now that the church is closing the Magnolia Preschool in August. Some of you have asked me how this impacts Weekday School’s future. My short answer is that Weekday School is a sustainable and strong preschool that is integral to the life of our church. Our future is bright. Keep in mind that operating a part time, school year preschool is much more manageable than a full time, year round school in terms of expenses, regulations, and staffing requirements. This is hard season for Magnolia staff and families and I hope you join me in praying for new jobs & new school options to open up for them.
Our next big event is Daddy and Me Day on Wednesday, March 13 for 3 and 4 Day Dads and their children. Look for those details in school bags soon.
In early April a peer review team from the Christian Schools of Florida will be visiting our campus for 2 days for our accreditation renewal. This takes places every five years in addition to our annual safety visits. This is a helpful and healthy practice that keeps us focused on improving our already lovely preschool.
Thank you for all the big and small things you do to make Weekday School a loving place for preschoolers and adults alike. Your support is out of this world.
They will know we are Christians by our love
But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control . . . —Galatians 5:22,23 (TLB)
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19 (NIV)
It’s the first fruit of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. The Bible tells us that God is LOVE (1 John 4:7-10). When we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves, we show the world we belong to Jesus. If God is love then we were made to reflect his love. That’s why Jesus said the greatest commandments are to “love the Lord with all your heart, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
Why would love be so important to be listed first among the fruit of the spirit, mentioned so many times throughout the scriptures, and spoken of so often by Jesus Himself? Because without love, everything else is worthless.
It’s February, so I know you might have recently reread a verse from I Corinthians 13. A beautiful passage for weddings, we often hear it quoted starting in verse 4. Look back a tad to find what Paul says on the importance of love. “…if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned; but have not love, I gain nothing.“(2b-3) Wait. What? If we have the faith to move mountains, but don’t have love in our hearts, it’s worthless faith! All too often we place more importance on faith and works than on love. The fact is, that those works and that faith ought to be based in love. When we perform kind acts, it should be out of love, not duty.
When Jesus Christ was questioned as to the greatest of the commandments, He listed near the top “love your neighbor as yourself“(Matthew 22:39). If we can keep this commandment, almost everything else we’re instructed to do will come as a natural byproduct.
My love is weak but in You Lord I know that my love will grow and I pray that it may bud and blossom into the promised fruit of the Spirit… I pray that my life may become a life that has Christ Jesus as the center – until I am nothing and He is everything.
I pray for love to grow in me..
Roberta Smith, Faith and Family Coordinator
“Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” Romans 12:13
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2
“Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9
What do you visualize in your head after reading a verse that encourages hospitality? For me, it is usually the image of an Instagram worthy tablescape. Luckily, the Bible describes hospitality and in the Scriptures, there are no instructions regarding perfection and appearances.
According to John 14:15, God wants us to obey his commands and this includes our response to what his Word teaches about hospitality. Romans 12:13b says we are to practice hospitality—literally, to “pursue the love of strangers” (Hebrews 13:2). Put those two things together and I see that if we want to demonstrate obedience to our heavenly Father, we will practice hospitality. 3 John 7:8 reminds us to extend hospitality to those working in Christian ministry. Specifically, to “support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.”
If we are to cultivate a heart of biblical hospitality, we cannot dwell on our pride, past failed recipes or our fears. I have been trying to organize a plan for 2019 so I listed a few strategies. Hospitality can look like:
Inviting a non-Christian family out to pizza after the soccer game.
Sharing a picnic at the park with the single mom down the street.
Inviting that new couple at church over for Sunday brunch.
Despite the fact that much of our lives are lived in a “public” way online, most people value privacy more than ever and we are busier than ever. Entertaining and hospitality run counter to this. Hospitality is sharing what we consider to be “personal” with each other in a sacrificial way. This isn’t “entertaining”, this should be obedience to God’s command. So how do we get past the fear, ego and privacy? And what about the introverts? The answer is prayer. Prayer is the expression of a reliance on God.
Father, help us to hear again your word, “By this shall they know you are my disciples; that you love one another.” Turn our fear into hospitality. Show us the opportunities, reveal potential dates for our families within the next 30 days. I pray that you will give us joy in humility and the mundane parts of hosting and to nurture our hearts for biblical hospitality. In your Son’s name, Amen.
Roberta Smith, Faith and Family Coordinator