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The Five Steps Technique
by Crystal LuttonThe Five Steps are a technique developed by Lisa Kuzara-Seibold, Minister of Early Childhood Education at Word of Grace Church in Mesa, Arizona. I had the amazing opportunity to mentor under her while employed by the Department of Early Childhood Education as a Sunday School Teacher. This example of The Five Steps is an adaptation of what is taught in her training manual.
Step 1: State your request and offer a reason.
Example: "You need to stop yourself from playing and clean up. It is time to leave." Step 2: Restate your request.
Example: "You need to stop yourself from playing and clean up."
It is helpful to get down on the child's level and touch your child while looking in his eyes to make sure you have his attention.
Step 3: Offer help.
Example: "You are having a hard time stopping your play. Can you stop playing and clean up or do you need my help?"
Whether your child requests help or not respect their wishes. Help is not a punishment, it is help.
Step 4: Help.
Example: "You are not stopping your play. Here, let me help you."
Again, help is not a punishment. It is an acknowledgment that your child is unable to stop on their own. This may be due to a lack of maturity, being tired or hungry, or simply not wanting to stop.
Step 5: The Bear Hug.
Stand behind your child and wrap your arms over her shoulders and across her chest. Hold her arms with your hands if you are concerned about her striking out. Squat down to her level and speak gently in her ear that you are helping her stop herself and that you will let her go when she can stop herself. Gentle pressure on her shoulders can keep her from kicking or attempting to run from you. This is not a punishment. It is providing outside boundaries for a child who lacks internal boundaries.
You can find more information about the "five steps" in this discussion on the Gentle Christian Mothers' message board.
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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
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