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Nobody really enjoys disciplining children. That is why so many teachers put it off as long as possible…and then, sometimes, even longer than that. I am all for trying whatever you can to get children to behave without having to discipline them but, honestly, sometimes you just have to put your foot down.
Yoga in particular tends to attract teachers with a very strong gentle side (if that’s not a contradiction in terms). Children’s yoga instructors tend to be extremely facile with the lollipops-and-rainbows material, but getting tough isn’t exactly their forte.
These teachers are amazing with children who are willing and able to be still, pay attention, and stay calm. They are totally in their element. But when a wild card–or two–shows up to the class, they quickly discover that gentle techniques no longer work.
I’d say the most common error I see in this area is teachers who do not want to actually discipline the child, so they threaten often but never take any real action. And, oddly enough, the kids keep misbehaving.
If you want your discipline to be effective, you must follow through with it. Students will not take you seriously if they think that you are spouting empty threats. In fact, they may even find it sort of funny…not exactly the effect you are looking for.
When you tell a child that he is going to be disciplined, follow through immediately on your words. It is okay to give him a fair warning (“If you disrupt class one more time, you will have to go into child’s pose for two minutes”), but as soon as he defies you, you must follow through on your words. If he knows that there are real consequences for his behavior, he will be more likely to listen.
And that’s the mini yogis minute tip of the week. Check back every week to learn something new!
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