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Three simple child management skills - a short interview with parenting coach Cornelia Lockitch.
























(this is raw unedited text transcribed directly from the audio)


Three simple child management skills -

a short interview with parenting coach Cornelia Lockitch.


(this is raw unedited text transcribed directly from the audio)


Dr. Kenner: When you think of having kids, that's what you think of. You think of those joyous moments of time with one another or you think of the times when they're serious and they're learning some new skill and they're mind is completely absorbed in it. Or maybe they're acting and they just love the drama of acting, they play dress-up, and you're just seeing their developing mind unfold before you. But it doesn't just unfold. Parents have tremendous influence on their kids. My children went to what is called a Montessori school, and it's a method that approaches childrearing as really focusing on your children, not catering to them, but helping them develop their mind and their interests. With me today is a Montessori teacher. She's been a Montessori teacher for 10 years. She has her Masters in education and she has taken all of her Montessori training and is now a parenting coach and her name is Cornelia Lockitch and she has a website, Her specialty is with preschoolers and toddlers, but all of us can learn from that. Cornelia, you were a Montessori teacher and now you have your own daughter, right?


Cornelia: I do, yes, I do.


Dr. Kenner: You offer three simple secrets, you call them, to managing kids, that you basically learned from being a Montessori teacher. Can you talk about one of those?


Cornelia: Sure. The first one is "use advanced preparation." Now, I think most parents understand this principle of advanced preparation on a certain level, but not nearly as broadly as they could. For example, they might know that they need to explain how Candy Land works before their 3-year-old can play it, but parents don't usually recognize that this same approach, implemented in a way that is appropriate for a child's age and stage, they don't usually understand how this can solve countless little issues that arise daily with young children.


Dr. Kenner: What would be one of those?


Cornelia: Well, for example, if you prepare your child in advance for how to use markers, so that you don't get marker on the wall, on the table, on their clothes, markers aren't left open on the carpet, when she gets them out, you'll no longer have that sick feeling inside, wondering at the mess you're going to have. Instead, you prepare her in advance. You show her in a simple way, you set up basically an activity that limits and defines what she can do with the markers.


Dr. Kenner: So this is how they are used. The cap goes back on afterward and you demonstrate it and write on the whiteboard or if it's paper, on the paper, not on the walls, just on the paper. So you prepare her in advance.


Cornelia: Exactly. And all the way through the cleanup. The cleanup becomes part of your child's activity. It's not for you to do later. You're not her servant. But you do it in a way that is appropriate for her age and her stage.


Dr. Kenner: Instead of, "You clean the stuff up! You leave everything out. You're such a slob." 


Cornelia: Or fuming as you do it.


Dr. Kenner: I always have to do this. I can't stand it. The toys are everywhere. Instead, I notice in the Montessori schools, the kids will play with an activity on their little rug - they each have their own independent rug - and then they put it away nicely before they go to the next activity. Now, that requires a teacher or in your case, if you're using it as a parenting skill, to prepare your child in advance that that's how things are done, in a very loving way. Not in a, "This is how things are done" way.


Cornelia: Exactly. What is also a part of that puzzle is having the home environment, the way the rooms are organized, those have to be thought through in a certain way that is appropriate for young kids.


Dr. Kenner: So another one of your tips is nip problems in the bud, and talk a little bit about that, because that's what we're talking about?


Cornelia: Nipping problems in the bud is definitely something of a learned skill. Over time, and by making mistakes, you can start to see negative patterns that develop with your child but that started from the smallest, seemingly most inconsequential actions, and nipping problems in the bud is, in a way, like developing sort of a third eye for the insidious beginnings. 


Dr. Kenner: So I've had parents that have said, "My kid always wants to sleep in my bed and I can't get my daughter out of my bed." And that would be one where how would you nip the problem in the bud? Let's just say it's just starting. My daughter has a cold - I think you had a situation like this - and your daughter gets into bed with you or you get into bed with her. Then she wants it every single night because it's so warm and cozy. How do you nip it in the bud?


Cornelia: It sure is. You want to communicate, I think it's very important to communicate a loving response, not one that is abandonment.


Dr. Kenner: Or rejecting.


Cornelia: Or rejection. You draw the line at certain things. Personally, I don't take my child into bed with me. I go into her bed. That's a big difference I think. And then from that, it's just through repeated action. Children will repeat until they are certain that you mean what you say and you say what you mean.


Dr. Kenner: So if you break down - I've had parents that say, "Oh my gosh. I've had 10 free days, my daughter has not been in bed with me or my son has not been in bed with me," and then they'll say, "Oh, but they started up again." And it's really the parents needing - "I just gave in. It was a raining day outside and he wasn't feeling good so I said come on in bed honey." It's really the parents not being consistent that creates the problem because then the kid knows they can keep trying.


Cornelia: Exactly, yes. Children are somewhat gamblers. They'll see - can they win this time? 


Dr. Kenner: If you consistently pull that lever and nothing comes out - neither of us are gamblers - but nothing comes out, then they're not going to keep pulling the lever. Whereas if occasionally you get a big hit, they're going ot keep pulling that lever. Very good analogy. What about your tip of "begin as you mean to go on?" I know we're down to the last minute or so.


Cornelia: Beginning as you mean to go on really means to simply start off right, and in order to do that, you have to have a sense of what right is for you and your family. I talk about having a vision of what you want at home and for your children, and keeping that in mind so that you can be consistent and set the precedent the right way.


Dr. Kenner: To do some pre-thinking. Can you give a quick example of begin as you mean to go on?


Cornelia: Well, I think that many parents excuse behavior of young children because of their age, and then they often end up endorsing or encouraging negative behaviors that at first seem fine - she's only 1, it's okay. She'll grow out of it. She throws food. That's normal. But I think you have to have a long-term perspective.


Dr. Kenner: So you don't want her throwing food from the beginning. You don't want to giggle and laugh when she throws it across the room.


Cornelia: You want to get across that it's not okay to throw at the table, but you give her opportunities for experimenting - 


Dr. Kenner: With throwing things. 


Cornelia: Exactly. At other times.


Dr. Kenner: A ball or something. And with me is Cornelia Lockitch You are a parenting coach and people can call you, schools or community leaders can call you and invite you to come in as a speaker. And you have free information on parenting at your website - again, An you also have a newsletter.


Cornelia: I do. It comes out every two weeks and it's a way for parents to find out more about my Guide Your Child Montessori influence on parenting.


Dr. Kenner: And it's all free. So I welcome you to visit that website, and thank you so much for joining us today Cornelia. I'm Dr. Ellen Kenner and you can visit my website too -, on the Rational Basis of Happiness, see you again next week.