The positive discipline strategy you might not have heard of
The Wheel of Choice feels like a win-win for mum / dad and kids!
Have you heard of the Wheel of Choice? It’s a positive discipline strategy; teachers swear by it, but most parents have never heard of it.
The Wheel of Choice has actually been around for years. It was developed by Jane Nelsen and Lynn Lott of the Positive Discipline Association as a way for kids to focus on solutions to everyday conflicts. It empowers kids to solve their own problems, instead of relying on a parent or teacher.
The Wheel of Choice feels like a win-win:
- It teaches kids life-skills like problem-solving, conflict resolution, co-operation, and independence.
- It allows us mums to step back from bickering siblings. No longer will we have to wade into the thick of the fight. Instead, we will look up from reading Big Little Lies and calmly say, “Have you consulted The Wheel?”
Living the dream!
So, What’s A Wheel Of Choice?
It’s a pretty simple concept: when kids are having issues they need some prompts to help them know the best way to resolve their issues. Usually, that prompt is Mum.
Instead, together with the kids, you create a pie chart ‘wheel’ for the kids to scroll through to find the approach they need. The wheel contains lots of options to try to resolve conflict (see below).
The wheel is kept in a prominent place that the kids can safely access on their own. When we hear an argument escalating, a gentle reminder to consult the wheel will hopefully be all that is needed.
Susie Johnson, who writes at Not Your Average Mom, tried the technique after her kids brought the wheel home from their classroom. She reports that she was “blown away” by how well it worked.
“There were no time outs, there were no (empty) threats given out by me, and the whole incident was resolved so quickly,” she writes.
While Susie recognises that the Wheel of Choice doesn’t mean all of her kids’ conflicts will be magically resolved, she is hopeful.
She says it’s a great tool to have at her disposal. She hopes the kids will learn to “calm themselves down without beating the sh*t out of each other and without me intervening.”
Creating A Wheel Of Choice
It’s easy to create your own wheel: you just need some cardboard and markers. Cut the cardboard out in a circle shape and divide it into pie sections.
Write one solution in each section and let the kids draw illustrations or symbols to help them recognise what the solution is all about.
Filling The Wheel Of Choice
The idea is to brainstorm with your kids some different approaches to solving problems and conflict. Some of the choices you might explore include:
- Take turns
- Say sorry
- Ignore it
- Choose a different toy
- Work it out together
- Count to ten
- Talk about how you feel
- Try a different activity
- Walk away
- Ask them to stop
- Try again
The Positive Discipline Association team have provided a series of lesson plans for teachers on each of their suggested approaches. The information is geared towards a class activity but is all still very relevant for the parents to use. You can download the lesson plans here.
There is a completed Wheel of Choice on the back page of the PDF that you could just print and use if you don’t want to make your own.
An Easy Technique That’s Worth A Try
The Wheel of Choice is a great way for kids to recognise that they can calm down and resolve things on their own. It will hopefully be a game-changer for sibling fights. There are many stories out there from happy parents who have found this positive discipline technique works at their place.
Definitely worth a try at mine!
This article has been republished with permission from Kidspot.