As we briefly discussed on yesterday's post, it is essential to change unacceptable behavior by changing the environment. The first method of changing the environment:
Enriching the Environment
Every good nursery school teacher knows that one effective way of stopping or preventing unacceptable behavior is to provide children with a great many interesting things to do--enrich their environment with play materials, reading materials, games, clay, dolls, puzzles, and so on. Effective parents, too, make use of this principle: if children are involved in something interesting, they are likely to "get into things" or pester parents.
Some of our parents in training have reported excellent results from setting up a special area in the garage or in a corner of the backyard and designating it as a place where the child is free to dig, pound, build, paint, mess, and create. The parents select a place where the child can do almost anything she wants to do without damaging anything.
Car trips are times when kids especially "bug" their parents. Some families make certain that their children have play materials, games, and puzzles that will keep them from becoming bored or restless.
Most parents know that their children are less likely to behave unacceptable if arrangements are made to have friends and playmates come over to the house. Frequently, two or three children will find it easier to find "acceptable" things to do than will a child alone.
Easels for painting, clay for modeling, puppet theaters for putting on shows, a doll family and a dollhouse, Play-Doh, finger paints for smearing, fun card games--all these can greatly reduce aggressive, restless, or troublesome behavior. Too often parents forget that children need interesting and challenging activities to keep them occupied, just as adults do.
Tomorrow, we discuss the second method of changing the environment: Impoverishing the environment