Describe your methods to teach and discipline children:
I think it is very important for children to feel like they can make choices. My time in the nursery at church, and from many years of experience with my nieces and nephews have confirmed to me that this is true. When teaching children I like to get down to their eye level and speak plainly with them. If the principle I am trying to teach is difficult for them to understand, I will show and help them perform the task until they are able to do it on their own. I encourage and congratulate them when they are struggling or succeeding! For example, when picking up toys after playtime: I would let them know it's time to clean up.
I'll usually start singing a clean up song and help the child clean. I try to make it a race to finish or something else exciting to make the task a bit more fun to do. If they are too little to really pick up the majority of the toys, I will show them how to clean up and say what I'm doing so they understand why it's being done. Other teaching moments, like reading or new games, are a great opportunity to bond with the child. I like to sit with them and read informational books or help them read simple books and encourage them as we go along.
When I spend alone time with kids, either babysitting or playing with them I know that I need to be ready to encourage their successes and when necessary, help them be obedient through discipline. For example, when I was watching my niece and she was disobedient I would calmly tell her that she could choose to stop her behavior and be able to continue her positive activity or she could choose to continue to be disobedient and be put in timeout. If she disobeyed again I would put her in timeout and let her know that because she did not choose to be obedient she made the choice to be put in timeout. (The length of timeouts was usually their age (in minutes) after they turned two.) After timeout, I talked with her to make sure she understand why she was put in timeout. If she didn't, I would walk her through what happened and see if she could tell me what she thought went wrong. When we'd talked it through I let her know that I loved her and wanted her to make better choices in the future so she didn't have to be in timeout again. I also made sure to steal a hug and kiss.
For discipline under the age of two I will usually use words and actions to show and tell the child what they had done (like if they hit, I would take their hand and say "no" as I stroked what they had hit and say "we need be be soft". In all situations of using discipline, I think it is very important that the child not feel threatened, ganged-up on or unloved. I ALWAYS end discipline with letting the child know that I love them and want them to make good choices because it makes everyone happy.
Describe your parenting experience:
I am the proud aunt of 20 nieces and nephews. It was my privelege to be able to babysit my sister's two children for two years while she worked. They came to my home at 7 in the morning and stayed till about 4:30pm. I got to get them dressed, feed them, put them down for naps, discipline when necessary, read to them, play with them, run errands with them, and care for their welfare five days a week. As the oldest got older, I had to learn babyproof my house and change our daily routine to ensure she was not bored. It was a great learning opportunity for me to understand just how selfless I would need to be as a mother. I also gained a wonderfully close relationship with those two children that is still strong today, eventhough we are miles apart.
What is your plan for childcare?
I do not plan to return to work once we adopt. I have thought about what we would need to do when we would need a sitter and have already discussed this with my girlfriends. They all have a trading system that they use and we could each take turns watching each other's children so the other couple or individual could have free access to childcare. We are also not opposed to hiring one of the young women from church from time to time for date nights.