Originally a full-time preschool teacher, Dr. Rene Hackney now holds a Master?s in school psychology and a PhD. in developmental psychology from George Mason University. She trained at the Developmental Clinic at Children?s National Medical Center and for the public schools, teaching in parenting programs at each. She has also acted as a consultant to several area preschools.
For the last four years, Dr. Hackney has owned and lectured for Parenting Playgroups, Inc, a parenting resource center and preschool classroom in Alexandria Virginia. She has offered workshops to a wide
range of parent, teacher and social work groups during this time.
Workshop topics include eight hours on positive discipline techniques, five hours on early academic issues and common issues such as sibling rivalry and potty training. All workshops provide well researched lecture, in-class practice and open discussion time. Additionally she hosts a monthly parenting focused book club and fun play programs to introduce the preschool setting to young families.
Dr. Hackney is married and has two young children of her own.
Host: How can parents begin to include their child?
Rene Hackney: There are lots of ways to begin to include your child with the sense of contribution. It really depends on the child s age and on the task at hand. So, let s say you are getting ready to make dinner, even two year olds can match cups to lids or ask daddy what he wants to drink or stir the butter into the green beans and older child might be able to set the table or might be able to help you with things on the stove top, if they are old enough. If you have got a child who is hesitant to help, who really doesn t want to, you might have to get a little more creative about how they help at least initially. So, to them you might say. Hey, do you want to drop placemats or pick where everybody sits? Even though those aren t really jobs, they are some things to do that still contribute back to the family. Whatever the child does to help, the parent should then notice and describe it back for them. Wow, you have buttered the green beans, they look delicious. or You made placemats, what a pretty table we have. It s telling the child what they did and why it was helpful, it encourages them to want to be helpful again the next night.
It s also a good idea to kind of shakeup with your offer on different occasions so if you are always saying to that three year old, Do you want match cups and lids, do you want to match cups and lids? After a couple of nights that s kind of boring. So, you want to think of different ways that they can be helpful along the way. Let s say you are folding laundry as boring as folding laundry can be, kids can match socks together. They can find the blue sock that matches this or they can pull out just their pajamas or they can sort piles of underwear mummy s versus daddy s versus kids .
So, there are lots of different things that they can do to help and the more they are helping the more they tend to want to help. It is much easier though to do this contribution with young children. Two and three year olds, they love it, they eat it up. As kids get older it s much harder to start with this with an eight or nine year old. So, the idea is to start it when they are young and then just encourage it to continue happening.