If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much. ~ Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
“Please put away your toys now and eat your dinner”, you say to your child. A few minutes later, your child still refuses to stop playing with his toys. He begins to throw a tantrum when you try to stop him.
Sounds familiar? As parents, we have to deal with misbehaviour from children from time to time. How do we encourage good behaviour in children, and how do we discourage bad behaviour? How can we discipline our children effectively?
15 quick tips for disciplining a child:
1 - Tell a child what he should do and not what he should not do in a calm voice.
Try to say it softly but stern tone, “Keep your hands to yourself”, instead of “Don’t Touch”. Remember why a child doesn’t respond to “Don’t” or “No”, if not, read here .
2 - Show a young child how to behave properly by explaining and showing how it should be done.
“Put your toys into the box carefully like this….” and demonstrate.
3 - Give the child some preparation time before he has to carry out the instruction.
“You have 10mins to play before dinner time. When time’s up, can you put your toys back into the toy box and have your dinner?”
4 - Discuss what will happen if he misbehaves, always deal with the behaviour, not the child.
“If both of you continue to argue over who should have this toy, the toy will be removed from the 2 of you.
5 - When the child behaves well, reward him immediately to reinforce the positive behaviour.
6 - Praise, smile, give a pat on the back or hug him. Give small treats occasionally but make it clear that material rewards will not be given every time.
7 - Never tell a child upfront that rewards will be given for good behaviour.
“If you are a good boy, I will buy you an ice-cream.”
This results in behaving the right way for the wrong reason and would caused the child to think that its a must to be rewarded when he behaves.
8 - Withdraw privileges if the child still do not obey.
For example, If the child refuses to eat his dinner because he wants to watch cartoons, switch off the television.
9 - Impose responsibilities, especially for older children.
You can try to ask the child to clean up the mess if he throws a tantrum and creates a mess.
10 - Scold only when appropriate, that is when all other steps failed to work. Hold the child’s shoulders with both your hands, look at the child at eye level, tell the child clearly and sternly why he is scolded and how he should change. Remember to scold him for the action, not him.
11 - Reconcile with the child and let him know that you love him, it’s his behaviour you don’t like.
12 - Never scold the child in public. Bring him away from the scene where he misbehaves to a quiet place. Talk about the unacceptable behaviour. Alternatively, say that you are bringing him home now because of the action he did.
13 - Match the type of discipline with the child’s behaviour. Choose a method that is suitable for the age and the maturity of the child.
14 - Discuss with your spouse and the child’s grandparents on the aspects of disciplining. Work as a team and be consistent, so that the child knows that no matter who is with him, the tolerance level and the style of punishment for the same action remains the same.
15 - Never disagree with the adult, who is scolding or punishing the child, in front of the child. This cause confusion and the child will find it harder to accept that what he did was wrong.