Scaffolding – Applying at home to potential conflicts

I learned about SCAFFOLDING long ago in college, and it was reintroduced with my Kindermusik training.   But lately have been learning and understanding so much more about the many parameters that are included.  I started expanding my vision of how Scaffolding could be used in class, with learning how to move our bodies in new and different ways (which we will talk about more), with musical concepts – how many different ways can we keep a beat, etc. 

Of course, I was already using a lot of these techniques with my children at home.  But as I learned more, and started to put them at the FRONT of my mind as I approached challenging situations with my children, I started to see new options open to me, transforming a power struggle into a team effort to resolve a conflict.  Here’s a recent example: 

“Stamps vs. Stickers”Cora was happy as she came to show me a new sticker she found.  It happened to be a 39 cent stamp – not the kind of stickers I want her playing with – not even one.  And I needed her to put it back, without having an emotional breakdown.  (Yes, she is 2 ½ and prone to such things.) 

Think – what is the child’s interest?  Stickers !  How can I meet her need, and mine?  OK.  “Cora, that is a colorful sticker, it has peppers on it, and numbers. (positive approach) “Look, a 3 and a 9. (number recognition)  That means this can go on a letter to help it get to Grandma Sarah. (making connections)  It is important that we put it back away so we can use it on the envelope next time.  We want Grandma Sarah to get her letter, don’t we?” (positive reason to put it back away). 

While walking toward the office, I mention, “I know where we have some other stickers you might like, with pictures of Dora and Boots.  Would you like to play with some of those? (going back to the child’s interest, and offering an acceptable option.)  “You found where the stamp went.  Thank you for putting it back.  Now Grandma will get her letter.” (specific praise for follow through, and reinforcing logical reasons).  “What should we put your stickers on?”  (open ended question leading to abstract thought – she has to think of acceptable places stickers can go.)  “What color paper do you want to put your stickers on, white or yellow?” (giving choices between acceptable options)  “Ok, we’ve got the stickers and the paper, why don’t you sit next to mom at the table while I finish my (COLD) meal.”   

Although my meal had to be put on hold for a minute, we were able to work through a possible conflict together – because I STARTED with where SHE was – she was interested in stickers. 

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