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Diversion, NOT Discipline

healthier parenting techniques with long term benefits

By Anne Published 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 3 min read
Diversion, NOT Discipline
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Diversion, as opposed to traditional discipline, is a powerful parenting technique focusing on redirecting a child's attention and behavior rather than using punitive measures. It recognizes that children are naturally curious and eager to explore their surroundings and harnesses this innate curiosity to guide their behavior in a positive direction.Diversion helps limit the amount of “no’s” your child will hear in a day and give them a sense of control over their decisions, likely limiting the likelihood of challenging behaviors.

One of the key aspects of diversion is the art of offering choices within appropriate boundaries. This empowers children by giving them a sense of autonomy and control, while still ensuring that those actions fall within acceptable limits. For example, instead of simply telling a child not to touch a fragile object, you can offer them a choice between two safe and engaging activities, both of which divert their attention away from the object. Another example would be giving two clear choices in which you would be satisfied with their choice either way. Think of mealtimes: “would you like broccoli with your chicken for dinner, or spinach?” This approach allows children to feel a sense of agency and independence while also respecting their need for exploration. The bonus is that by giving options you are content with, no one gets upset with the decision made!

  • When implementing diversion, it is essential to understand that children are naturally curious and eager to explore their surroundings.
  • Diversion focuses on redirecting a child's attention and behavior positively, rather than resorting to punitive measures.
  • By offering choices within appropriate boundaries, diversion empowers children by giving them a sense of autonomy and control while ensuring actions remain within acceptable limits.
  • Providing choices can be beneficial in situations where you want to steer a child away from a particular behavior.
  • For example, instead of saying "don't touch that fragile object," you could offer a choice between two safe and engaging activities.
  • Another scenario could involve offering two acceptable options to choose from, such as different vegetable choices during meals.
  • By giving children options that you are content with, you allow them to feel a sense of independence and agency while avoiding conflicts over decisions.

Through strategic diversion, or redirection (as it is more popularly referred to), educators can significantly reduce disruptions and foster a conducive learning environment. Implementing the following strategies can effectively guide children from exhibiting challenging behaviors towards adopting more constructive ones.

Offering choices empowers children, instilling in them a sense of worth and bolstering their self-confidence. Rather than a direct prohibition, presenting alternatives encourages decision-making. For instance, replacing a directive such as "Do not hit your friend" with a choice like "Would you prefer to hit this pillow or yell into this stuffed animal?" can be more effective. In scenarios where a child seeks attention through disruptive behavior, ignoring the behavior momentarily can be beneficial. This approach, paired with subsequent positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior, can diminish the undesired actions. Distraction serves as another tool, diverting a child's focus from disruptive to more acceptable activities, thereby mitigating the situation without direct confrontation.

Channeling a child's excess energy into positive outlets or offering physical affection can significantly improve their emotional state, demonstrating support and understanding. Establishing and adhering to clear expectations, alongside employing positive reinforcement for commendable behavior, lays a foundation for understanding consequences and encourages desirable actions. It is crucial to avoid power struggles and to remain composed, as engaging in conflict can exacerbate the situation. Understanding that challenging behavior is not a personal affront but part of a child's developmental process is essential for maintaining perspective.

Educators and caregivers may employ various techniques for redirecting behavior, including verbal cues to shift focus, physical guidance to alternative activities, and using cues or drawing attention to positive behaviors in the environment. These methods, when applied thoughtfully, can significantly influence a child's behavior positively.

The art of redirection (truthfully, it really is an art) stands as a pivotal skill in the repertoire of effective educators and caregivers, transforming potential disruptions into opportunities for growth and learning. By embracing these strategies, we not only address immediate challenges but also invest in the long-term development of children's emotional and behavioral regulation. The journey from disruptive to cooperative behavior is paved with patience, understanding, and strategic intervention, ultimately leading to a harmonious and productive learning environment that nurtures the potential within every child (brightwheel.com).

For more information regarding parenting techniques, strategies and more, review the resources below or follow our Instagram!

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About the Creator


blogger, content creator and mama

find me on socials: @paranneting @anamesa_anne


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    Anne Written by Anne

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