Effective discipline is one of the most frustrating parenting tasks as children test boundaries day after day. Yes, discipline helps children learn not to engage in aggressive, dangerous, or inappropriate behavior, but the responsibility falls on the parent as well. It is the parent’s job to follow through with consequences when set rules are broken.
Constantly saying no to everything may very well result in your child tuning out the word “no.” Decide what is really important to you and set limits and consequences accordingly. When it comes to the little things, mainly those things that are just annoying and not actually “bad,” ease up on saying no. Often, these are habits that your child will outgrow in time.
Some examples of misbehavior can easily be prevented if you know what will initiate it. For example, if your child has a habit of coloring on walls, keep the crayons stored in a high cabinet and don’t allow coloring without supervision. If specific toys cause issues when it comes to sharing, remove them from the play area before playdates arrive.
Some children act up in certain situations or when they are feeling a certain way, like when they are hungry or tired. If your child tends to be in a happier mood in the morning, schedule appointments or trips to the store in the morning so you can avoid a grumpy, groggy child if you were to save it for later. Prepare your child for new things and shifting activities so they know what is to come. Rather than telling your child it is time to leave and stopping playtime abruptly, let them know that the two of you will be leaving in a few minutes and it is time to start cleaning up.
During the toddler stages, children are still learning how their behavior impacts others around them. If your reaction to a situation changes day after day, the child will be confused. Respond in the same way each time; if you tell your child they are not allowed to throw balls in the house, don’t let it slide the next day when they do it again. If you always respond the same way, your child will likely learn their lesson after four or five times.
Many first-time parents try to reason with their child when rules are broken by explaining in detail what they did wrong and the privileges that will be lost if it continues. However, over-talking and over-explaining is ineffective. Your two- or three-year-old will not be able to absorb the overload of information. Speak in short phrases and repeat them a few times.
At Children’s World Learning Center, we know that the early years of life matter because early experiences affect the brain. As a child’s brain grows, the quality of the experiences that a child has creates either a sturdy or fragile foundation for all of the development and behaviors that follow. Parents want to make educated choices for their families, and getting things right the first time is better than trying to fix them later. Contact us today!