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Posts Tagged ‘self-discipline’

Connection Before Correction

Monday, December 3rd, 2012 10:24 am | By Stephanie Woo

 It was a 5 minute interaction that made this clear: Connection Before Correction.

We had just come home from our afternoon walk. Brooke takes off her jacket and throws it on the ground. I say, “Brooke, please put your jacket away.” She starts running off. I say it again in a louder and sterner voice. She doesn’t look back. I take the jacket to her, hold her arm and say, “Brooke, put it away.” She tries to pull away.

And then I remember that I had been away for the weekend and been coming home later than usual. So I get down on the floor and say, “Okay, can I hold you?” She looks at me and nods ‘yes.’ So I sit there and hold her. We don’t say a word, I just hold her and stroke her hair while she sucks on her thumb (she still does that). I would let her decide when she’s done. Three minutes go by. Then she looks up at me and I say, “Darling, can you put your jacket away?” She stands up, fumbles around looking for the hood and hangs her jacket on the hook, then runs off happily.

I’m home with my kids everyday, so overall, I feel connected to my children, but I don’t know how they feel. Then I figured it out. When they act out, they don’t feel connected. That’s when I know it’s time to give them more.

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Toddler

Saturday, May 12th, 2012 2:38 pm | By Stephanie Woo

This morning, Mackenzie was crying and attached to my leg, so to distract her, I took out a mandarin orange for her to peel. She immediately stopped crying, sat down on her chair and began peeling. It’s not easy task for a 17 month old. She was using so much force pulling the skin off the orange that the rest of her body was shaking. Being a mom, my heart hurt watching her work so hard, but the Montessorian in me knew that I shouldn’t interfere, so I bit my tongue and kept quiet. Bit by bit, she peeled the entire thing by herself. I said to her, with relief in my voice, “Now you can eat it!” Brooke came over. Mackenzie immediately handed her the peeled orange and looked up at the bag of unpeeled orange, holding her hand out for another one to peel.

Just like my mother, Ms. Lam, told me, children around 1 1/2 – 3 years old, are not working for a reward of any kind. The reward is the work itself. This is so important: THE REWARD IS THE WORK ITSELF. What’s the biggest gift you can give your toddler? Watch what they’re interested in doing, give it to them, then leave them alone to do it for as long as they like without interrupting them! Don’t talk to them, don’t say, “good job,” don’t try to help them or correct them, do not even look at them. It might be climbing up and down the stairs, or pouring water from one thing into another, or digging sand, or ripping up a piece of paper, or lying there singing the same song over and over, it doesn’t matter what it is. Just let them work. This is so simple, yet so hard, for a parent to do. But I assure you it is the best gift you can give them to prepare them for the future. Concentration, coordination, self-discipline – you cannot pay enough money to give your child these things down the line!


This video was taken the week before…

Parent Q&A: How do you keep your babies in bed on a floor bed?

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 10:07 pm | By Stephanie Woo

From Helen, mother of twins: I am really intrigued with the floor bed idea, but how would you keep your babies on it once they start moving and walking and would not want to go to bed or stay there as long as they should? do you close bedroom door? I know with my son, he never wanted to go to bed, but once we put him in his crib he had no choice but to fall asleep….

A: I noticed you used the words “as they should.” Whenever the word “should” is involved, there is a lack of freedom. Notice how you feel when you feel you “should” do something: “I should lose weight” “I should make more money” “I should be a better person.” “Should” comes with an invisible pressure and doesn’t allow someone to choose freely.  

When and if you decide to go with a floor bed, the idea is to give your child the freedom to choose when he sleeps and when he wakes. With my girls, who are crawling around, we close the door at bedtime and let them play till they are tired and fall asleep. Encourage your child to sleep because he is tired, not because he is confined and bored.

A baby has an internal rhythm, he knows within himself when he is tired. A floor bed respects this internal rhythm, whereas a crib imposes a rhythm on him – one that is set by mom and dad. 

In the long run, children who sleep in floor beds sleep longer and better because their natural sleep-wake rhythm is respected. When B and M were 6-7 months old, we put them to bed at 7pm. Mackenzie was almost never tired at that time, whereas Brooke would fall asleep often on the dot. I would close the door and Mackenzie would crawl around, play with her toys, talk to herself, crawl into the closet, sometimes she would even crawl into Brooke’s bed. All this time, I am in another room cooking or writing, and lo and behold, 15-40 minutes later, I would hear her little cry. I would walk into their room, pick her up, put her on her bed and she would be asleep in no time. No struggle at all. We’ve since changed their bedtime to 8pm, and both of them almost always falls asleep as they are finishing their bottles.  And if they don’t, then we do the same thing (see pictures below, taken the day after this post was written)

Another thing to consider is this: when a child is tired and you put him in the crib, he cries because he’s tired and he doesn’t want to be confined in the crib. It’s very common for those children to fall asleep only when they absolutely cannot hold on anymore. Whereas children who sleep on floor beds will cry because they are tired, but once you put them in bed, they sleep. Without that additional layer of complexity and struggle in their cry, it makes sleep easier for babies and LIFE better for moms and dads.

12:25pm Naptime. Mackenzie is already asleep, while Brooke is still playing

1:03pm I heard Brooke cry to be put in bed. I picked her up, fed her a little water and put her in bed. Fell asleep within minutes.