NDSU Extension - Sargent County

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Positive Guidance Techniques

Over Labor Day weekend my family went camping.  The campground had a beautiful playground on the premises, and I got to spend lots of time there with my four-year-old granddaughter.  It was fun to observe other parents and grandparents supervise their kids and grandkids, and it gave me opportunities to “practice what I preach” by using positive guidance techniques.

playgroundOne of the techniques called into play was, “Be Positive.”  This meant to focus on “do” rather than “don’t.”  For example, instead of saying, “Don’t stand on the slide,” I would say, “Sit on the slide,” and offer a little explanation about safety, too, of course!

Another technique that got used was “Offering Choices.”  This technique only works when I give realistic, viable choices (not ultimatums), and am willing to abide by the choice or decision that my granddaughter makes.  It sounded like this, “We’ll need to go back to the camper for lunch soon.  Do you want to go down the slide two more times, or walk across the turtle bridge a couple more times?”  Those were two of the playground activities she had enjoyed most that morning. 


Later in the day, we all went to a children’s museum where the environment was rich and inviting with science, art, music, and creative play opportunities for both my granddaughter and her one-year-old brother.  This was an example of a positive guidance technique referred to as “Considering the Environment.”  We had chosen a setting or environment that was appropriate for the kids.  Truth-be-told, that kid-friendly environment was a lot of fun for everyone in my whole family!

There were opportunities over the weekend to use other techniques, too, including “Problem Solving,” “Setting Limits,” “Modeling Behavior,” and “Being Realistic.”  A brief explanation of all of these techniques, along with a few specific, common, concrete examples of each one, are included in the NDSU Extension publication, “The Guidance Approach to Discipline.”  That publication is available online or from the extension office. 

As always, please give me a call if you or your friends, family, co-workers or employees have a topic you would like to learn more about through a presentation, lesson, program, activity or workshop.  NDSU Extension has a lot to offer, and we are here to serve you!

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