Every child needs to feel safe, have connection, and maintain a sense of belonging in order for their light to shine. I firmly believe that caring, compassion, and community are more powerful than fear, shame, and exclusion. Children are more than their mistakes, yet they must take responsibility for and learn from their mistakes. In short: we will embrace you for who you are, but if you make a mess, you’re expected to clean it up.
Restorative Practices are a broad suite of tools and strategies that helps us maintain a culture of kindness. Many schools use restorative practices and research has shown that it improves school culture, reduces suspensions and expulsions, and reduces inequity.
When there's a problem, respond with Love and Logic -- natural consequences for the behavior delivered with real empathy and kindness. When there’s conflict between people, a restorative chat or conference can help the person(s) that were harmed tell the mistake-maker about the impact their actions had on others, and can help the mistake-maker acknowledge that impact and take steps to repair the harm.
What can you do to support restorative practices at home?
Create and maintain relationships founded on love, empathy, and kindness.
When problems arise, hold kids accountable for fixing their mistakes. For instance, if Max breaks his sister Jill’s new gadget, let Max listen in as Jill describes how much that gadget meant to her. Max will probably need to replace it with his allowance or by earning money through extra chores. Max should acknowledge and fix the emotional harm that he caused to his sister, perhaps by doing something nice for her. And if it takes a lot of your time to mediate, well, John might need to pay your time back too.