Pre-teaching Our Children

By Chris Nelson and a Parent Committee

  Pre-teaching is a very powerful tool parents can use to teach children to practice the self-disciplined skills. (Teaching them to WAIT.)

  Pre-teaching is the instruction that precedes any activity to ensure desired outcomes can be achieved.  This month, take time to pre-teach expected behavior before going out to dinner, before attending church services, before going to the store, or before any other event.

  There are some key ingredients to consider when pre-teaching:

  • State the purpose of the activity or experience.

  • Discuss the opportunities for using self-discipline skills.

  • Talk about the movement to, at, and back from the activity or experience.

  • Discuss consequences ahead of time.

  A pre-teaching exchange may sound something like this:

  "Tonight we are going to go out to eat as a family. We have all had a busy week, and this will be a great way to spend some time together as a family.

  When we get to the restaurant, we may have to wait for a table.  Sometimes there are places to sit and wait, but sometimes we have to stand. While we are waiting for the table, we can talk, but we cannot run around or be loud.  Once we are sitting at our table, it is important that we show our table manners and talk in voices that do not disrupt others. If I see that you are having trouble waiting or that you are disrupting others, I will give you a reminder by counting.  I will count to three.  Once I have reached three, we will have to leave. That may mean that you and I will be sitting in the car waiting for the rest of the family to finish dinner.  Do you understand what is expected of you?  Tell me about that in your own words."

  As you can see, pre-teaching eliminates confusion. Both parent and child know what is expected and what the consequences will be ahead of time. Pre-teaching is the key to many successful activities!

Reproduction of this article in whole or in part allowed with proper credit given to:

Discipline With Purpose, Inc.
3406 Hurstbourne Ridge Blvd.
Louisville, KY 40299