Thursday, December 18, 2014

Delayed Gratification - Helping Children to Build Self-Discipline and Autonomy

This week's blog is a repost of a parenting article and published with permission from developingcapablechildren.com. Visit their website for more great articles like this!




"You waited until the night before to get your project done, and now you want me to drive to the store to get the materials you need?"


"You're not going anywhere until your room is cleaned. You were supposed to do it three days ago."

"I asked you 20 minutes ago to get your things together for school!"


Wouldn't it have been so much easier if they had just done it right away and gotten it over with? There would have been much less hassle and emotional energy used. You and I can see that as adults because we have learned (and some of us are still learning) the benefits of delayed gratification. The good news is that procrastination is not an inherited trait. It is a learned life skill that can be taught, and is one of the greatest indicators of success for children.

In 1972, a Stanford research project was published, that has become known as the Marshmallow Experiment. In this experiment, the researchers put a child in a room with a single marshmallow. The children were told that if they would wait until the researcher returned to eat the first marshmallow that they would be rewarded with a second marshmallow. Many of the children ate the first marshmallow soon after the researcher left the room, and a few were able to wait patiently until research came back with the second marshmallow. I'm sure this was quite fun to witness.

What made the experiment so well known, however, was the results of tracking the participants in the study for over 40 years. The results of the research are quite remarkable. The children that were able to exhibit the willingness to wait for the second marshmallow were more successful in a broad array of measures, including higher SAT scores, lower levels of substance abuse, stronger social skills (as reported by their parents), better physical health and stress management, as well as a variety of other life measures. In short, the ability to delay gratification proved to be a significant factor, across the board, in how successful these participants were in their lives.

While it may be that some children have a greater inclination towards self-discipline, most of people learn self-discipline through experience. Those experiences come from the child's environment and their experiences in that environment. A home or school environment that provides a consistency and predictability allows children to trust the outcomes of their choices builds a sense of confidence in children that empowers them make decisions for themselves based on what they know will happen and when. (University of Rochester study on the effect of reliable and unreliable experiences can be found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23063236). Take for example a child whose routine is to finish his homework before watching television at night, and bed time is at 8:30 a.m. And, each night, when he is finished with his homework his parents allow him to turn on the TV until bed time. However, when he doesn't finish his homework, he is not allowed to turn on the TV. If this routine is predictable, what decisions might this boy make in regards to delaying gratification and finishing his homework after school? What might happen if his parents become more arbitrary in allowing him to watch TV, sometimes when his homework is done, and sometimes when it isn't?


Developing Delayed Gratification


  • Develop routines that allow children to experience both the logical positive and negative consequences of their choices, without rescuing them or bailing them out or punishing them. The example of the television after homework is a sound example. Another one, is the child who procrastinates in getting dressed in the morning. A routine could be set up where the child's clothes are picked out the night before, and the parent simply lets the child know if they are not dressed before leaving for school that the parents will simply put the clothes in a bag and the child can change at school or in the car (if there is time). As kids get older, the consequences of their decisions are often played out with their peers or outside the home. Let's say an older child is responsible for their laundry. If they forget to do their laundry, consider putting your own feelings of potential embarrassment aside, and allow your child to wear dirty clothes.
  • One of the most powerful ways to create an environment of mutual respect and develop the ability to delay gratification is to involve children and adolescents in crating routines and solving problems. Brainstorm ideas together, and then choose what might work best together, and commit to reviewing the decisions at a later date to see if they are working. If the solutions aren't working, then you can just make adjustments when you review the decisions.
  • Avoid reminding and nagging. Nagging and reminding only create power struggles, and it creates a cycle of dependency or rebellion. Instead ask open ended questions, like, "What will happen if you don't finish your homework before 8:30 p.m.? OK, I'm sure you'll figure it out." Or, "What's your plan to do your laundry. OK." When it's time to follow through, simply do so without nagging. For instance, if your child said she would finish cleaning her room before she went to her friend's house, don't remind her when you see the time to leave approaching. When it's time for her to leave, simply let her know that she needs to call her friend to let her know that she will be late, because she has to finish cleaning her room. If arguing ensues, simply respond by calmly saying something like, "Please let me know when you are finished so I can check your work."
  • Take a look at places that you find yourself bossing your children and expecting them to respond to your requests. When you see those areas or situations, talk to your child or children about those rough spots and ask for their help in finding a solution and/or routine to help solve the problem. Not only are children (and adults) more willing to cooperate when they have been included in the problem-solving, but they are more willing to do what is expected if they have advanced warning and can plan for what is coming.

When involving children in decision making be sure to avoid the two biggest pitfalls - not stating your needs and not allowing them to state their needs. It is OK to say, "That won't work for me, and here's why." And, it's also OK for them to say, "That won't work for me, and here's why." As long as you have decided to revisit your mutual decision in the near future, it's OK for both adults and children to make mistakes in their decision making. You can always alter or change your decision when you revisit your plan in the near future! In this way, children learn decision making skills and parents learn to trust their children more - and when children feel trusted and involved they feel better, and when they feel better the do better.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Five Words that Changed Everything

This week, a repost from the "Hands Free Mama" who learned to ask, "How would you do it?" when her children became frustrated at home. It's a great read with some insightful advice.

Enjoy!

http://www.handsfreemama.com/2014/12/09/the-manager-in-my-home-the-five-words-that-changed-everything/


Thursday, December 4, 2014

This blog spoke to me.  Enjoy, A. Vanderbilt

20 Quotes From Children’s Books Every Adult Should Know

It’s interesting how some of life’s greatest lessons can be found in children’s literature. And chances are that we did not realize this back when we were kids. Sometimes it’s only when we’re older that we learn to fully appreciate and understand the poignant words from our childhood entertainment.
Here are some of the best quotes from books we used to read.

1. A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

2. Dr Seuss, Horton Hears a Who

3. Aesop, The Lion and the Mouse

4. A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

5. Roald Dahl, The Twits

6. Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You’ll Go

7. Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic 

8. Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

9. L. Frank Braum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

10. A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

11. E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

12. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

13. J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

14. Shel Silverstein

15. Roald Dahl, The Minpins

16. Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

17. P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins 

18. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 

19. Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

20. A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh


Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Demonstrating Successful Behaviors

Respectfully submitted by Julie Bujtas

 

Just when you finally start feeling like you’ve gotten your life together, you‘re the most stable and organized you‘ve ever been, life throws you a curve.  Congratulations!  You’re a parent!  Now you have to take all of those bits of world knowledge and organizational skills and teach them to someone else!  Naturally, all of the good habits you’ve worked so hard on your whole life will be passed down.  Everything from the proper way and times to brush your teeth, to the healthy foods you choose to put into your body, to your daily exercise routine will be carefully demonstrated for and explained to your young pride and joy.  Just as important as all of these habits that you practice in taking care of your physical self, however, are the little things you may not even realize you do that help you get through the rough times and function successfully as an intelligent human being.  Noted writers/educational consultants Arthur Costa and Bena Kallick have identified 16 of these “Habits of Mind” - common behaviors that successful people rely on when they are confronted with difficulty.  And they do need to be taught!

 

Success is not just about how much information we retain, but how we react or behave when the answer to a problem is not readily available.  “Persist,“ “take a risk,“ “ask questions,“ or “try to be flexible” seem like common sense behaviors for many of us.  We may not remember how, when, or where we learned and started practicing these skills, but these and many other good problem-solving habits were taught to us at some point along the way.  As mindful parents, we should show our own children how we apply them in tough situations, just as we model or demonstrate other good habits for their benefit.  In order to successfully handle the problems that life throws at them, our children will need every opportunity to practice these intelligent behaviors.  The sooner they are aware of and start using them, the faster these behaviors will become habits.  Knowing and using them will make the many transitions children face through their academic and social development that much easier.

 

Aside from the “common sense” behaviors mentioned above, there are a few identified habits that we probably do as parents, without even thinking.  “Responding with wonderment and awe” is a favorite of toddler parents; we realize that what gets us excited can also get them interested, so the smallest act becomes a dramatic event, to create excitement.  “Creating, imagining, and innovating” and “questioning” can be brought to the fore at this time, too.  Our child’s choice of toy or playtime activity can help him make sense of the world and build upon it, in his own unique way.  As they grow from toddler to preschooler, “thinking interdependently” becomes more necessary.  They engage in group activities, have play dates, and begin to see the benefits of having someone else their age, with whom they can share ideas.  Perhaps most important at this time, we try our best to “find humor” in difficult situations, because we know that our children will react as we do.  We often look to diffuse what might otherwise be a tear-filled outburst by showing how comical, weird, or ironic the situation can be, drawing attention away from the source of fear or hurt.

 

Although these behaviors may seem intuitive, they do need to be identified and reinforced, the ultimate goal being that they will be the first reactions when problems arise.  The child can grow to understand that he is in full control over the resulting positive or negative outcome, based on which behaviors he uses to respond.  The simple act of recognizing and pointing out these behaviors at home early on can help children learn how and when to consciously apply them.  Children’s ability to advocate for themselves and move through life’s ubiquitous difficulties at school or with friends with ease can become almost second nature.

 

It is probable that these skills are worked into the curriculum of your child’s school in some form or another.  Many teachers actually use Costa and Kallick’s Habits of Mind as a way to set the tone in their classroom.  Habits like “managing impulsivity,“ “communicating with clarity and precision,“ “applying past knowledge,“ and “gathering data through all the senses” can help to focus students on the work at hand and maintain a respectful atmosphere.  However, the one place children learn more of their behaviors than anywhere else is, of course, from their parents.  We model “listening with understanding and empathy” when we listen to them.  They notice our facial expressions, where we focus our attention, and how we respond, and they try those behaviors out on the next person they listen to.  Our attention to detail in our own work, as we “strive for accuracy and precision,” is also noted and mimicked.  If a child comes from a household where every new activity is treated as a learning experience, he or she will no doubt “remain open to continuous learning” throughout life.  

 

These habits are not exhibited in isolation; we often use several at once when tackling a major issue.  Costa and Kallick admit that successful adults may have even more intelligent habits than those included in their list.  As parents raising our children in the best way we know how, it is our duty to share our positive world views and personal habits with them.  The recognition and use of the Habits of Mind offer that sense of stability and organization that are so helpful to have earlier in life.  Making our children aware of these and other “intelligent behaviors” as a positive means of tackling any problem, academic or social, can be one of the most useful gifts we can offer them as parents.

 

External Links and Further Reading:

 

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Habits of Mind Summary. c. 2000



Watts, Graham.  Habits of Mind; Developing skilful learners and independent thinkers.  http://www.habitsofmind.co.uk/the-habits.html

Friday, November 14, 2014


Literacy Development

Respectfully submitted by Colette B. Cross, Head of School, The Westmont Montessori School


We know that the foundation for literacy development begins in infancy.  The early years are the launching pad for learning to read and reading to learn.  Research tells us that early literacy skills are fundamental to later success in reading in children.  When we instinctively speak to our infants, make sounds and communicate with them, we are starting them on the road to literacy.  It is important that we continue to engage our toddlers and preschoolers in experiences that promote and foster literary skills such as oral language, content knowledge, and cognitive ability.  We do this by providing the skills and tools necessary to help children navigate the road to reading, as well as fostering a desire to read. 

Not too long ago, I watched one of our Toddlers sit in the comfortable chair pouring over a book, gently turning each and every page, examining the pictures and, in some cases, verbalizing the story as she saw it.  What an amazing feat, a child who already loves books.  Just imagine, in a few short years, between the Toddler and Pre-K years, our students are exposed to a world of literacy activities.  These foundational tools enable what we call “an explosion into reading” to occur when a child is developmentally ready.   Another amazing feat; the child who says, “I can read by myself.”  I don’t know about you, but I remember that very moment in my own life; and the magic lives on.

At Westmont, we have a specially designed sequential curriculum to aid and support the development of reading readiness and reading skills. Learning to read is a process that relies on specific elements to bring success. We begin with vocabulary and language enrichment, naming objects using auditory and visual discrimination activities to show children that words have meaning.  We then move onto phonemic awareness, teaching children that certain sounds represent certain letters, (this can take a while depending on a child’s development stage), and includes a myriad of lessons.  We then introduce our students to phonological awareness teaching them that words are built by combining the sounds. From there children learn that words make up sentences, that words can be divided into syllables, and syllables can be divided into phonemes. The phonetic approach to reading is the most effective way to teach most children how to read, and because the English language is based on sounds it lends itself to the phonetic approach.

Promoting children’s desire to read is as important as helping them develop the necessary skills to learn how to read.  Without motivation, support and encouragement, children will read very little and often only read what and when they must.  The National Association for the Education of Young Children says that 40% of children read only what they need to read.  Between home and school we must foster wonder and delight in books in our children by providing the materials.  Children who read will always be able to learn.

Bookstores may be closing down and digital libraries may be in vogue but we must never deny our children the joy of turning the physical page of a book to find out what happens next. 

“I cannot live without books” Thomas Jefferson.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Fostering Curiosity

Respectfully submitted by Monica Whitmore, Westmont parent

Why do cats meow? How does it snow? Why do pigs like mud? Anyone who has ever raised a toddler knows that they are innately curious. Curiosity is a quality that urges us to know more and to explore the uncertain. Preschoolers have plenty of it and that’s a good thing. Yes, it does get a bit hairy when your two-year-old asks what feels like 100 questions on the way to the grocery store, but this curiosity serves a noble purpose. It’s how kids learn.

In fact, a growing body of research shows us that children and adults alike learn and retain more once our curiosity is piqued. In an article published in Cell Press last month, researchers shared that not only do we learn better when we are curious, but it also increases our intrinsic motivation to learn in general. Moreover, an article in the Association for Psychological Science noted that curiosity, when coupled with conscientiousness, has more to do with a person’s success than intelligence.

As an educator, my feelings on curiosity have come a long way. I once considered it a descriptive word for students that had difficultly following directions and staying on task. The word had a negative connotation, until I began to learn more about how the brain functions. About six years ago, I was trained on a “new” approach in education called problem-based learning. This method broadened my horizons and taught me that exploration, discovery and choice were immensely valuable in the classroom. Why? Because when students engage in these learning formats, there is a greater chance that they will become curious and feel the need to learn.

As a Mom, I do my best to foster my children’s curiosity at home because I value and enjoy the conversations that come from a simple question like, “Mommy, why do light bulbs go out?” I know how critical the preschool years are when it comes to brain development. I am also aware that once my own children are in elementary school, their teachers’ learning objectives for the day may not match what they feel curious about. In her piece, Children’s Need to Know: Curiosity in Schools, Susan Engel explains that we don’t yet value the quality enough and she also acknowledges that curiosity needs to be promoted in schools so that it not only survives, but flourishes. My hope is that it will become increasingly important to all educators, so that the fire I see in my daughters eyes when we talk about how a building is constructed or a bird flies is always there.

So my advice to any parent who wants to foster this natural quality is to indulge a bit when your child asks a thoughtful question and find a preschool that values it as much as you do.

Sources:

Association for Psychological Science. "Curiosity is critical to academic performance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111027150211.htm>.

Cell Press. "How curiosity changes the brain to enhance learning." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141002123631.htm>.

Harvard Educational Review. “Children’s Need to Know: Curiosity in Schools.” Academia.edu. <http://www.academia.edu/1268822/Children_s_Need_to_Know_Curiosity_in_Schools>

 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Celebrating Literacy




On October 21, 2014 The Westmont Montessori School’s students and teachers proudly continued a tradition of celebrating literacy by participating in the Jumpstarts’ premier annual national campaign, Read for the Record®. The campaign brings preschool children together to read the same book, on the same day, in communities all over the country. This year’s featured book, Bunny Cakes, is a “comical story of sibling bonding and birthday shenanigans” by bestselling author and illustrator Rosemary Wells.

Since its launch in 2006, millions have participated in the hopes of supporting Jumstart’s mission:  to work toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed. “  Books featured in the past:  The Little Engine that Could, The Story of Ferdinand, Corduroy, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Snowy Day, Llama Llama Red Pajama.  To learn more about Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, click http://www.jstart.org/

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What's Too Scary?



As Halloween approaches, Marilou Hyson, PhD, former associate executive director at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), talks about young children’s fears. Much of Marilou’s research and writing has focused on early childhood emotional development. What is too scary for children at different ages? Each child is different, so it’s difficult to give hard and fast rules about what may be overwhelming for all children at different ages. The most important thing a grownup can do is to know an individual child and watch for her reactions to potentially scary images and situations. Pay attention to what she seems very worried about, avoids, or talks about, which can be clues that something is scary. Parents are often surprised by what frightens their child. Our grandson Sam, who is 13 now, was really frightened at the age of 2 by a life-size sculpture of a moose at an outdoor exhibit. We rounded a corner on a trail and there it was! Sam was visibly scared, staring and rigid, and he wanted to get out of there as fast as he could. When we got home, he pored over the map of the exhibit and recalled each sculpture, but when he got to the moose, he said, "We sip [skip], okay?" and went on to the next one.


Why is there a tradition of scary characters in books for young children?


Many of those stories are traditional fairy tales or legends that originally were created for adults--certainly not for very young children. Grimm’s and Andersen's fairy tales are often very frightening, even for older children. The characters and events in many of these stories tap into some of our deepest childhood fears, such as losing our parents or having someone familiar change into a threatening stranger. Young children have a hard time distinguishing between a change in a person’s appearance and a change in who they really are underneath. For example, when a parent becomes very angry, a young child may wonder, Is that my same mom or is it really someone different? The answers are not clear-cut to young children.


Why do some children find it fun to be scared just a little?


It's different for each child. When a child plays peekaboo of sorts with something he finds scary, it’s great for her to feel she can manage her fear. Mom puts on a mask (but not a terrifying one) and takes it off, or the child does so herself. The child peeks around the corner at a sort of scary Halloween display, but only from a distance. It's important that adults not make fun of children's fears no matter how irrational they seem. And saying “There is nothing to be afraid of” is not real persuasive to a young child. This speaks to the development of emotion regulation. Gradually, especially within warm relationships and with our support, children begin to be able to manage their emotional reactions to various situations (including Halloween stuff). Adult support could be talking or drawing about what the child is scared of or worried about, helping him or her know what to expect (for example, at a Halloween party), or using puppets to act out a story in which a child is a little bit scared of something and then figures out how to deal with it. There are children’s picture books with that kind of theme as well. Sometimes parents think it’s their job to remove all stress from children’s lives, but the truth is that, with our support, small bits of stress (child-size bits) are important sources of positive development, as children broaden their toolkit of coping strategies.


Any special tips about handling fears related to Halloween?


Halloween has become a kind of adult holiday (which was not at all true a few generations ago), and with adults and teens dressing up as figures from horror movies and going to extremes to scare other adults (a harder task than scaring a little kid), we need to make sure there is a firm line against violent/bloody/gory and generally horrific images. Not just because they are "too scary" but because they do not represent the values or images that we want our children to be exposed to. Pretend play is children's main way of making sense of their world. Through play, children can master fears and difficult experiences by reinventing them in a playful way. If Halloween can be another opportunity for children to engage in well-supported pretend play, then it has the potential to support children’s development.


See more at: http://families.naeyc.org/learning-and-development/child-development/whats-too-scary#sthash.FlQuObHn.dpuf

Thursday, October 16, 2014

John Hunter, a keynote speaker at the AMS 2014 Annual Conference and creator of the World Peace Game, shares his thought in this video about peace education, which is a vital piece of the Montessori curriculum.


What Children Teach Us About Peace from American Montessori Society on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Winning the Candy Wars

This week we would like to share with you an article by Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller that seemed fitting for the Halloween season. They have some great ideas for using Halloween candy as an opportunity for learning and personal growth for your child.

Enjoy!


"Winning the Candy Wars"
By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller
Our children are being bombarded with candy from every direction. Chocolate bars, gum, suckers, and assorted gummy candies line the checkout lanes in grocery stores. School fundraisers sell candy bars, cookies, and brownies in the hallways during lunch hours. Every mall, skating rink, soccer complex, movie theater, and even the video store has a place to buy candy.

And then there is the holidays. Halloween trick or treat bags bulge with every kind of candy imaginable. Christmas stockings are topped with bubble gum and chocolate bars. Valentine messages are stamped on candy hearts and boxes of candy are the staple of communicating love. Easter baskets overflow with jellybeans and chocolate bunnies.

Candy is everywhere and its presence wreaking havoc on our children’s teeth and waist lines. Children are visiting the dentist with serious tooth decay at younger and younger ages every year. Obesity in children is a national concern.

With candy being universally available and regularly within sight of children, what is a parent to do? How do you combat its influence on your children? How do you lessen the influence of advertisers and get candy consumption under control in your family? How can you win the candy wars?

The following suggestions can assist you in curbing your children’s candy consumption. Use them to increase the health and well-being of your family.

1. Begin by being a model for your children to follow.

If you are a chocoholic and find yourself foraging through the cupboard for the last chocolate bar or eating an entire bag of M & M’s once they are opened, reflect on the message you are sending your children. It will be difficult for you to curb your children’s candy consumption when they see you unable to curb your own. So model the message. Eat a small portion of candy and set the rest aside for later. Talk to your children about your desire and your willingness to stay conscious and make healthy choices about your own candy consumption. The positive images you give them on how to set candy aside will help them to be more likely they are to set it aside themselves.

2. See candy as a wonderful opportunity to set limits with your children.

As parents we set limits around television, computer time, video games, bed times, friends, and a variety of other items. Setting limits with candy does not mean you make if totally off limits. It means that you provide opportunities for your children to enjoy candy within some clearly defined parameters or guidelines.

Children want guidelines. They thrive on structure. It is the structure provided by the adult that allows them, to relax into being a child. Of course they will push and test the limits. That is their job. Pushing and testing the limits does not mean that your children want them changed. It most often means that they want to see if the structure is really in place.

Set your limits early before you go to the store, before the Easter bunny arrives, before the Halloween bags are full, before you bring candy into the house. “We will be buying one treat today in the store,” sets the limit. So does, “We are shopping for food today. This will be a non-candy trip.”

Discuss with your children how candy consumptions will take place before they head out to gather a bag full at Halloween time. Agree on a portion to be eaten each day and a place to keep it. Do not allow candy to be taken into their bedroom. Do not leave bags of candy in the cupboard for easy access. This is part of setting limits and it is your responsibility as a conscious, committed parent to see that it is done.

Setting a limit doesn’t means you have to say, “No.” Sometimes saying, “Yes,” with a qualifier, helps you avoid power struggles.

“Can I have a piece of candy?”

“Yes, you can have one right after supper.”

Another important way to set limits and structure candy consumption in your family while reducing resistance and resentment is to offer children choices.

3. Offer your children choices when it comes to candy consumption.

“You can choose five pieces of candy out of your Halloween bag for today and set the rest aside for a different day. Let spread all your candy out and look at your choices.”

“You can choose one piece of candy now or two pieces of candy for after supper. You decide.”

“You can choose to have your Easter basket candy kept in the kitchen cupboard where we can keep track of it or you can choose to be done having access to your candy.”

With candy, remind your children that responsibility equals opportunity. Your children have an opportunity to have some candy. If they are responsible with following the parameters you have set then the opportunity continues.If they choose not to be responsible with candy, they choose to lose the opportunity to have it available. In that instance, access to candy is removed.

This could mean you may have to remove all the candy from the house and make it unavailable to anyone. That would include you.

4. Make the eating of candy something special.

Educate your children that candy is not food. It is junk and has no nutritional value for their bodies. Candy and the opportunity to eat it is something special and are reserved for special moments. Keep candy eating rare and enjoyable. Once the line is crossed and candy becomes an everyday occurrence, specialness of it wears off and it presence is now expected..

Have different candy around at different times to bring attention to the special event that the candy may represent. Focus on the event and how different types of candy are significant at different times of the year. Talk about the cultural or family significance of what a particular type of candy may represent. Change the focus from that of mass consumption to that of significance to you and your family.

5. Don’t use candy as a reward.

When you use candy to motivate your children to perform a particular task or behave in a certain way, you are positioning it as a tool of manipulation. Using candy to get children to behave is a form of bribery and produces children who perform for a substance. In this way you end up producing a “candy junky,” someone who chases after the next fix of the desirable substance.

Candy should never be used as a reward by parents, teachers, or any professional working with children. This distorts the role candy should have in a young person’s life and teaches children that the reward (in this case candy) is more important than the task performed..

6. Help your children create an inner authority.

You are not always going to be present when your children have access to candy. You are not going to be there to enforce a limit for your children or give them choices. You want the ability to curb candy consumption to already be inside them. This control for within will develop in children if you can start early and consistently utilize the suggestions above.

Another way to help your child build inner controls is to debrief or talk through your child’s choices with him after he returns from a place where you know candy is easily available. Help him think about and talk through his decisions. Ask him to articulate what he would want to keep the same and what he would like to different next time. Help him create a plan to build on his successes.

Your child’s inner authority is the only authority she will take with her wherever she goes. Help her learn to trust her ability to decide and make healthy, responsible choices.

By following these six suggestions you and your children can enjoy the wonderful taste of chocolate and other candies. The holidays can be filled with pleasant moments of special candy consumptions. The “candy wars” will no longer be necessary. Instead, eating candy will move from a weight and tooth decay issue to a wonderful time when one can simply enjoy a sweet taste upon the palate.

Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of The Only 3 Discipline Strategies You Will Ever Need. They are two of the world’s foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. For more information about how they can help you or your group meet your parenting needs, visit their websites today www.chickmoorman.com or www.thomashaller.com.