How to discipline a child?
It’s that word ‘discipline’ isn’t it? We all hate it because it conjures up images of haughty matrons and even haughtier headmasters peering over spectacles at naughty children. It’s all a bit too Harry Potter-like; discipline the way we shouldn’t discipline.
So let’s change the word discipline to three words – encouraging good behaviour. Why? Because, in a lot of cases, discipline in its more negative, punishment-based forms doesn’t work.
What does work is positive reinforcement of good behaviour and redirection of bad behaviour into more appropriate activities.
Here are a few insights and tips to help get your toddler out of tantrum mode and into a place that gives you some peace.
Toddlers love reactions from big people
Yes, that means you, Mum and Dad, and any reaction is a good reaction as far as they’re concerned. So if your toddler throws their cereal on the dog’s head and you react by storming about and shouting, they’ll be fine with that.
You’ve reacted and that’s all a young mind yet to have any concept of right or wrong cares about. So what if your child throws cereal on the dog’s head and you don’t fly into the rage they want? What if you just walk up calmly with a bowl and water and start wiping the dog while saying “Well, that wasn’t very nice. Do you want to help me clean up poor pooch?”
That’s a disappointing reaction for a toddler hell-bent on maintaining their journey of sensory overload and parental meltdowns. Chances are they’ll seek new targets for their cereal to further test the boundaries, but a small victory will be chalked up.
Don’t give a toddler your mobile phone if you expect to get it back without fuss
This is a biggie with a lot of parents and we all do it. Loading games onto your phone is a great way to get some peace as any toddler will be happy to lay on the couch and push buttons for a while. But when you try to get that phone back? Massive tantrum.
Is that thier fault? No, it’s yours for giving them the phone in the first place. The concept of sharing will grow as they do, but for now, it doesn’t exist.
If you repeatedly go for the easy entertainment option – the phone – you’re asking for repeated trouble, daily trouble, and daily tantrums.
Set up real games or introduce them to nature play so you can keep not only your phone but your sanity.
How to discipline a child?
Is it possible to discipline a child without hitting? Absolutely. A child gone wild is simply a child confused and trying to deal with raw, untested emotions. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent; all kids do it and we did it when we were kids.
If your child is screaming like a banshee because you took the phone back or you won’t let them watch TV, the best discipline can simply be distraction.
“What’s that up there?”
“Huh, was that Big Ted asking for a hug?”
It really doesn’t matter; nine times out of ten any child-appropriate distraction will quickly lift your child right out of their fit and wondering what is ‘up there’ or looking for Big Ted with intent.
The list goes on. There are so many great ways to get your toddler acting like the little angel you want them to be and so many ways you can help other kids do the same.