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ArmsOfLove 03-17-2005 11:18 AM

The Five Steps
The Five Steps Technique
The 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.

jammomy 04-04-2005 10:31 AM

Re: The Five Steps

Thanks for posting these on this board.

My 3.5 yo ds actually likes the bear hug! "Mommy, hug me like that again!" :hearts

ArmsOfLove 04-04-2005 01:06 PM

Re: The Five Steps
One great game we play around here that I got the idea for from Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen is to put the child in the Bear Hug and talk about how they can't ever get out, they'll never get away. Then allow the child to slip out while you continue talking about how it can't happen. Then pretend to notice that they got away and ask in astonishment, "How did that ever happen??? How did you get away?" and repeat with increased seriousness of the hold. . . "This time I'm going to put you in my Super Duper Bear Hug! No one can escape from this!" My kids could play this for hours :)

TxMama2Cody 04-04-2005 07:49 PM

Re: The Five Steps
How long do you wait between each step?

ArmsOfLove 04-04-2005 08:28 PM

Re: The Five Steps
Long enough to give them a chance to comply but not so long that thy forget the instructions ;) It also depends on what we're doing. Let's say I need them to clean up their room because we're going to be leaving. I might pop in and do the first step, "You need to clean up the toys. We will be leaving in a few minutes." And then I'm off to take a 5 minute shower and get dressed. Pop back in and do step 2, "You need to get everything cleaned up." Then I'm off to do a few more things and finish getting ready and then I come back and offer step 3, "You're having a hard time cleaning up. Can you do it yourself or do you need my help?" If they say they can do it themselves I stand there and watch them get started and then might pop out and do something else and check back to make sure they're cleaning. If they say they need help or I check back to find them playing I stay and, "Here, let me help you," and get them organized and cleaning. but let's say we're getting someone dressed. I will stand with them and step 1, "You need to put your shirt on. We're getting dressed now." Wait a beat. "You need to put on your shirt." "Can you put your shirt on by yourself or do you need my help?" wait a beat "here, let me help you."

does that help?

TraceMama 04-05-2005 12:14 PM

Re: The Five Steps
Thanks for the realistic look at the five steps, Crystal. I have them posted on my fridge and really need to start using them every day, but never knew how to time them. Thanks!

godsgracegiven 04-05-2005 05:30 PM

Re: The Five Steps
hehehe, I have them psoted on my fridge too, and sometimes I carry them around with me. I need a post card to put in my pocket. I must look silly to my kids, like I am reading a script or!! :lol

ArmsOfLove 04-05-2005 07:06 PM

Re: The Five Steps
that's great :) maybe I should sell a laminated wallet card ;)

godsgracegiven 04-06-2005 02:17 AM

Re: The Five Steps
A laminated wallet card would be great!! Then I could carry it in my purse too!! :tu I might look strange to the other on-lookers in public but hey, atlest my kiddos will understand. :lol

Lois 04-11-2005 05:57 PM

Re: The Five Steps
was just demonstrating this to a friend today!

purplerose 05-03-2005 07:58 AM

Re: The Five Steps
:mrgreen :D :tu :highfive Thanks for posting this! I neeed to print this out! This is a lot like the Love and Logic style of parenting too! You give the child choices, and then help them decide! I need to print this out as well! YES, sell them on a fridge magnet!!! :heart :hkiss

Jillian 05-12-2005 01:02 PM

Re: The Five Steps

I have a question, and please don't take it the wrong way, I'm not trying to be flip. I :heart this site and find myself nodding in agreement :tu to almost every one of your posts, this just caught my attention.

I'm just wondering why it says to "state" a request, then goes on in the example to "tell" the child what to do. Do you recommend asking first? And then telling? Or just telling right away. Thinking about this situation (and with my highly spirited/sensitive 3 year old in mind), I would probably tell him when we got there when we'd be leaving. When that time rolled around, I'd already given a warning - "it's almost 3 o'clock" - just a bit before to let him know we were getting close, at 3:00 I'd say "it's 3:00, we need to clean up our messes before we go" then I'd probably just start cleaning up - either the babies stuff, my bags or the toys he was playing with, to model what he needs to be doing.

What do you think how I would handle the situation is communicating to him? I don't really tell him what to do, more like tell him what is expected of him. Would that fall under the philosophy of GBD?

Thanks so much for any input :)

ArmsOfLove 05-13-2005 07:08 PM

Re: The Five Steps
that's actually how I handle many things with my children--group actions and encouraging cooperation :) But there are times when I need to give instructions and my children need to do things and I *ask* them to do it only if their compliance is optional. Otherwise I tell them what they need to do. If we are out in public I might say "we need to clean up" but then as we're cleaning I might say, "Dd, you need to grab that there and hand it to me; Ds you need to get that toy and put it in the bag; etc" With my 3yo I make it as fun as possible and encourage him in the ways that he responds to, but I also see this as a time where I'm teaching him what is his responsibility and no one else's--and cleaning up his toys is *his* responsibility. *He* needs to do it. I help, I model, yet I this wording is to teach.


Jillian 05-14-2005 08:16 AM

Re: The Five Steps
Okay, I get it now :D We ask too, only when compliance is optional. I like how you break it down pointing out to each one a job that needs to be done.

Along the lines of it being his mess, and he needs to clean it up...can I get your advice on that? Sometimes our little scenerio works, sometimes it doesn't. Mostly the times it doesn't, I will clean up ds's stuff instead of turning it into a power struggle out in public. I deal with it as a seperate issue at home, rather than try and *fight* him when he's feeling emotional about not wanting to leave, or whatever it might be. What do you think about that?

Thanks for your thoughts :)

ArmsOfLove 05-15-2005 09:41 AM

Re: The Five Steps
I try to work on things at home until they are ready for them out in public--is that what you mean? If the *issue* about leaving out in public is the big feelings and cooperation at leaving then I focus on that until they are ready for the next step. Meanwhile I make it a group effort to clean up even if I'm doing most of it. Out in public for clean up I expect much more from my 7 and 5 yo's than I do from my 3yo :)

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