The chair of reflection: is it useful or not?

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Catherine Le Nevez
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Source: IPA

"Enough, now you sit here and reflect on what you have done!": Raise your hand if you have never exclaimed it aloud, in case a child has brought mum and dad to the limit of endurance (but also teachers , educators, grandparents, little cousins ​​and friends). In pedagogy this type of intervention is called chair of reflection: the pedagogue Marta of and the behavioral educator and teacher Claudio Cutolo explain if and how this strategy can be an effective way to contain behavior that is a little too over the top.

Read also: How to educate children to the rules according to the Montessori method

Set limits but don't humiliate

The doctor shares this educational method in part: "It is correct to take the child back and give him a limit when he is exaggerating ». As the educator explains, "it has always been like this and, perhaps, in this historical period in which we adults are more fragile it is even more necessary and right to take children back".

If, therefore, the expert agrees in theory with the chair of reflection, there are aspects of this practice that leave her perplexed: "The point on which I do not agree is the fact that with this practice there is the risk of humiliating a child who is already lively in himself, who still does not have the tools to contain himself. The child needs the help of an adult to build the method to calm down, which must explain to him why he does not behave in that way ». Sitting in a chair in silence may therefore not be an understandable situation for him.

The chair of reflection in the classroom

“Sure, this one it does not mean that you have to be afraid of taking back a child»Explains the educator. «The true teacher, leader or adult in general does not need to scream: a glance or a gesture is enough to make the child understand that he is exaggerating. In addition, another aspect must also be taken into account: if he is with a group of children, such as in class, other children learn from what they see. Even we adults often still remember very well some things that our teacher did. So what's the point of humiliating a child? What if it were always the same little one who had to go to the chair of reflection? There is more than anything else need a good constructive moment in which we reflect together on what happened».

The invitation is therefore to identify with the little ones and try to find communication strategies that can be understood by them. «Those who know how to be authentically with the little ones will automatically have less need to impose limits, because children have learned from adults how to communicate and share. With this I don't want to justify the very lively little ones, but I think it is fundamental put yourself in their shoes: would we like it if the teacher always scolded us? ».

The chair of reflection in the family

The chair of reflection is used both at school and at home: two very different environments. Nevertheless, the doctor remains of the same opinion: "The same goes for the family, even if the context is different: the house is a more intimate environment, but the principles are the same ».

Instead of having a child sit in a chair and think, 'you have to work on the adult's resources to tolerate the whim, often caused by the distance created while the child was in kindergarten or school. The concept is that it is good to go to school and be with your peers, but at the same time it is also tiring to be away from moms and dads. The message that must pass is that as a parent I understand this difficulty, but I don't feel guilty for the detachment and I continue to set limits, because this is my role as an adult ".

Does the chair of reflection work?

Psycho-emotional effects could (perhaps) be overlooked if the chair of reflection worked from an educational point of view. "In reality if the child is too small, up to about 24 - 36 months, however after 5 minutes he does the same thing again for which he had been placed in the chair of reflection. At this age he is not yet able to stop a behavior and activate a new one, he needs to experience repetition to grow. Even when he understands that he doesn't have to do a certain thing, he continues to repeat the behavior for the sense of transgression typical of that age ».

Read also: “Terrible two”: a small manual for parents to survive the whims

Yes to the chair of reflection, if it is a chair-chamomile

Claudio Cutolo is more inclined to use the chair of reflection, if conceived as a way to calm a child. «The assumption is that the school and parents must provide tools and rules, but without being excessive. Once corporal punishment was inflicted, today a snack is not consumed, for example. However, adults need means, especially in today's society where children are more unmanageable and tools less and less, given that parents even blame teachers' reproaches ", explains the expert.

«What we do in our school is use the so-called time out: when the behavior is excessive there is a moment in which to stop, even when doing motor activity: you quit the game, calm down and re-enter. For this I prefer define the chair "of reflection", a "soothing chair".

Even because the word "reflect" in this case it comes used improperly. For a child, "sitting silently on a chair" and "reflecting" take on the same meaning and the term "reflection" is associated with a negative feeling: when the child is in this chair, he is in a moment of anger and resentment, not he is certainly able to reflect (as an adult cannot think when he is angry) ».

How to use the soothing chair

According to the teacher, you have to pay some little attention if you want to apply this educational method effectively. “The soothing chair it must not last more than 30 seconds, 1 minute maximum»Says Claudio Cutolo.

«Then when the baby calmed down and he is again able to reason and rationalize, he can explain what he did. At that point she understands. I also really like it finish with a hug, or a simple "hit the 5" if the child does not like physical contact, to play down and establish that it is all over ».

«The chair must never be far away, in a corner or facing the wall: it is not a punishment. Punishment is not revenge, but it should have an educational effect, that is, prepare for adult life. Need Inseparare - in a manner appropriate to the age of the child - that there are the consequences of one's actions: it is not enough just to say that he was wrong, it is not an incisive method and the child does not learn ».

Read also: How to educate children without punishment

A moment of detachment

“The same concept it also applies in the home and in the family»Explains Claudio Cutolo. "He's a moment of pause to disconnect and then go back to doing what you were doing properly. It is not a punishment, which in general should not exist, but an action based on not having the act repeated ».

  • chair
  • reflection chair
  • educational methods
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