Discipline is a way to teach your child appropriate behaviour, not punish them. Depending on your child’s age, you will discipline them differently. When disciplining your child, start by setting some rules that your child clearly understands. When implementing discipline, be consistent and set rules that encourage your child to succeed. Affirm when your child does something right and encourage their best behaviour. Check out 6 ways to discipline your child.
1. Redirect their attention
Toddlers can cause a lot of mayhem, and quickly! If your toddler is getting into something they shouldn’t or doesn’t want to share with another child, give them something else to do. Refocus their attention on another activity. When they do the alternative activity, praise them.
If your child is threatening their safety or the safety of another child, deal with it right away. Prioritize safety over redirection.
2. Provide a warning
Young children constantly need reminders. If your child is about to break a rule or is starting to act inappropriately, give them a warning. Once they receive the warning, they will know that completing the behaviour will result in a consequence. When giving a warning, use “If….then” statements so your child knows there will be a consequence.
For example, say, “It’s not okay to hit. If you hit, then you get a timeout.”
3. Utilize timeouts
Timeouts are great for young children and allow them to self-soothe. Children who are having a meltdown or are misbehaving can be placed into a timeout. This is often the most effective tool for young children because it helps them to calm down and provides immediate feedback on their behaviour.
4. Keep explanations short and sweet
Your child is still building their vocabulary, so don’t over-explain their behaviour or consequences. Speak simply and with as few words as possible to your toddler. Explain what they did wrong and why they got a consequence. Then, tell them what to do in the future.
For example, say, “You hit Suzie, so you went to timeout. We do not hit. If you feel upset, come get me.”
5. Give them small choices
Toddlers love to feel in control as they begin to build their independence. If misbehaviour starts because they don’t want to do something, give them a choice. This helps them limit what the need to think about and take control of what happens next.
For example, you might let a toddler choose which bedtime story to read or which shirt to wear. If they’re throwing a fit about putting on their shoes, let them pick between the green ones or the red ones.
The choice may also include putting on their jacket or going to timeout. Say, “It’s your choice. Which do you want?”
6. Suggest replacement behaviour
Instead of telling your child what they’re doing wrong; tell them what they should be doing instead. Your child may not know the correct behaviour to display, so tell them.
For instance, if your child is pulling the dog’s fur, say, “Let’s pet the dog like this.”
There you have it. 6 great ways to discipline your child without going overboard. Are there other ways that have worked for you? Kindly leave a comment below.