I came across this article in one of my favorite online magazines, Rhythm of the Home. It matches exactly with how I feel young kids should be handled.
Too often busy kids are labeled as naughty or hard to handle- they need a different kind of handling! I love that the author states that when kids are treated like they are happy and helpful, they act happy and helpful. That has absolutely been my experience with children, even older kids. When I tell my girls what to do, and tell them they’re acting wrong, and tell them to stop it, and tell and tell and tell, they just behave worse every time I open my mouth. They feel bossed around, they feel inadequate, they feel discouraged and squashed.
If I take their borderline behavior in stride and turn it into something productive? Now they are in control of themselves. If I want their behavior to change, I need to physically go to them and help them change what their body is doing. Move the toddler away from what he shouldn’t be near. Show the preschooler how to put away the silverware, sit with the gradeschooler and focus on her school work with her.
Waldorf tradition tells that young kids are completely in their physical bodies- they don’t think with reason or logic, they just act. Isn’t that so true? I try and teach logic, yes. My toddler shouldn’t pull all the books off the shelf. My preschooler shouldn’t leave her markers where her little brother can reach them. I say these things, WHILE PHYSICALLY MOVING THE CHILD.
The best days are when my hands are more tired than my voice at the end of the day.