5 Top Tips to discipline your children effectively
25th March 2014
Having children comes with the huge responsibility of teaching them right from wrong. Yet unfortunately, until the child learns this valuable life lesson it can be somewhat of a turbulent time in a household for any family. Young children are known for throwing tantrums wherever and whenever they feel the need (even if it’s in the middle of the supermarket on a busy Saturday afternoon!).
From the ages 2-6, bad behaviour is to be expected, and is completely normal – you should probably be more worried if your child is perfectly behaved at all times! As your child is developing, their language and social skills are still not yet fully developed, so they will find it difficult to fully communicate their frustrations. This means that their actions are often misunderstood and interpreted as bad behaviour.
To help you understand and handle your child’s misbehaviours better, learning how to discipline well and within reason, we’ve came up with our 5 top tips so you can learn from our team here at Tiny World and be fully prepared for the next tantrum…
Disciplining toddlers (2-6 years)
1) Move down so you are at the same level as your child and make eye contact with them at all times. Listen to what they have to say and then explain everything to them slowly. For instance, “I have done this because you wouldn’t listen to Mummy when I asked you to stop hitting your sister, so until you calm down and apologise to her we’re going to stay here”. Adults can sometimes be quick to forget that children are still learning, and won’t always understand why things are happening. So it’s important to take the time to explain to them why, so they can understand and begin to learn. This also helps make them aware of the social boundaries and what happens when they cross them.
2) If your toddler is in the middle of a tantrum and cannot or will not calm down, even after you have warned them what will happen if they don’t, then remove them entirely from the situation by taking them to a different environment. This could be another room in the house. Wait here until they calm down – and don’t forget to explain why you have done this (tip number 1).
3) Remember: consistency is key! If you’re indecisive and wavering with what to do, your child will pick up on the vibes and take advantage of your uncertainty, and before you know it they will be the ones calling the shots! So even though it may at times seem harsh being hard on your little one, remember it is for their benefit in the long run.
4) Having a routine for your toddler plays a huge part in disciplining your child. If they have a secure and reliable routine, they will know what to expect, which will make them feel safe because of the consistency of the household.
5) Make sure your child understands early on that there are consequences to their actions, whether these are good or bad. Therefore, rewarding good behaviour is just as crucial as reprimanding bad behaviour. Always remember to reward your child when they have behaved well. It doesn’t have to be anything big and expensive; something simple like a few sweets will help get the message across just as well.
Disciplining older children (6+ years)
For those of you with older children, their behaviour will need to disciplined slightly differently due to the stage of development they are at.
1) Just like with toddlers, remove your child from the situation straight away if they are misbehaving. Older children will already know that what they are doing is wrong, so they do not need to be given the same warnings as younger toddlers.
2) Ask them to apologise. This will teach them good habits for when they are older; when you do something wrong or unfair, you apologise for your actions.
3) They will more than likely have more possessions now they’re older, so if they misbehave you can remove these from them. Whether it’s their mobile phone, laptop or maybe other privileges such as seeing their friends after school. Hopefully this will make them re-evaluate their bad behaviour.
So, don’t let your child rule the roost and try to gradually implement these steps to help you handle their behaviour. Remember, the simpler you keep the discipline the easier it will be for your child to understand and adhere to, which should – hopefully – make them think twice before they misbehave again!