Perhaps the most challenging part of being a mum is steering our adorable but sometimes misbehaving tiny humans in the right path. It’s a scary and stressful responsibility that loving mums have to face. Good thing parents before us have these helpful child discipline methods that should lessen our worries and make this parenting task a little easier.
What Are the Most Effective Child Discipline Methods?
After worrying about how to take care of our babies, now comes the most challenging part of disciplining them. Children are born curious and playful. It’s only natural for them to cause mischief or get in trouble from time to time. But then again, we should teach them good behaviour and proper attitude early on to avoid creating bad habits and harming themselves or others.
New mums like me are probably on a frantic search on how to discipline children. How do I make sure that I’m doing the right thing without playing the wicked parent? Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to disciplining our kids. Child discipline methods depend on their age, type of misbehaviour and temperament. However, to help us out, I have rounded up a few positive discipline strategies that experienced mums and experts have shared that we can do. Here are some of them.
Call their attention
Children less than a year old shouldn’t be strictly disciplined. We have to let them have fun and enjoy being kids. However, if they do start to fuss or start doing things they shouldn’t, the best way around it is to create a diversion. Get their attention by calling their name, offering their favourite toy or doing something funny. Young kids have a shorter attention span, and creating a diversion allows us to correct our kids without raising our voice or saying no all the time.
When our kids grow a little older, it’s time to shift diversion into paying attention. Listen to your kids when they start telling stories or talking about their day. Laugh with them and support the hobbies that they love. Building a clear communication line between you and your kids is essential in reinforcing discipline later on.
Praise or reward good behaviour
Instead of focusing on correcting your kids for bad behaviour, why not praise or reward them for doing a good job? Compliment your child when he behaves at mealtime and eats his vegetables, or serve him his favourite dessert for doing well in school. Praising or rewarding our children for good behaviour encourages them to repeat it. Like us mums, our kids want to make us happy, too, so let them know that you appreciate their efforts. However, you should avoid bribing your kids. Use rewards to acknowledge your kids’ good behaviour but not to make them behave a certain way.
Sometimes you need to be creative when applying child discipline methods. A third-party or fictional character, for example, can be used to relay a corrective message and make it easier for your kids to understand. Stories support better retention, too. So, tell children’s stories to put your kids to bed and teach them moral lessons at the same time. You can even take it to the next level with a mini puppet show. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Your kids’ stuffed animals and Lego toys should be enough to teach them how to say thank you, be honest or share things with others.
Choose to say “yes”
Tell your child no for doing something, and expect him to throw a tantrum. Commanding your kids and rejecting their requests almost always lead to resistance. So, try to act more positively by saying yes whenever possible. One thing to remember when you do this is to set a limit. For example, if your child wants to be with his friends after school, tell him what time he needs to be home.
Aside from setting a limit, you can also offer your kids options instead. If your child is too lazy to get himself ready for school, for instance, ask him if he should put his shoes on or his jacket first. This trick should get him moving without throwing a fit. If not, follow it up with a logical consequence. For example, tell him if he doesn’t get dressed in time, he might miss the bus trip with his friends. When you try this discipline strategy, make sure that you are good with both options. Choices give our kids freedom and make them independent but still keep us in control.
Set rules and explain consequences
As our children become older, there will come a time when creating a diversion or offering options may no longer work. When this happens, it’s time for us parents to set up specific house rules that our kids have to follow. Calmly but firmly explain to them what the consequences will be if they misbehave.
For instance, have them finish their assigned chores or schoolwork first before they can play. Make sure to keep the rules age-appropriate and reasonable. Be consistent and don’t give in right away. Your kids need to know that both of you take your house rules seriously. Remember the importance of gradually building a clear communication line between you and your kids? It’s time to put it to good use!
Tips When Applying Child Discipline Methods
We need to discipline our kids, but that doesn’t mean we have to play the policeman role all the time. That strategy will only drain you and your kids. So, I’ve listed down a few more tips to keep us less stressed out when disciplining our little ones:
- Give yourself and the kids a break. Allow a little mischief here and there. As long as they won’t hurt themselves or others, let the kids be kids.
- Be flexible. If a strategy doesn’t work, other child discipline methods probably would.
- It’s normal to make mistakes. While you need to use positive reinforcement and be consistent, there will be days when your kids will push your buttons.
- Stay calm. If you accidentally raise your voice or lose your temper, go out for a walk, get some fresh air then apologise and explain yourself to your child even if he doesn’t understand it yet. Let him know you love him even if he misbehaves sometimes. No one is perfect, but always aim to be a better parent!
- Lastly, don’t be too controlling. Parenting never ends, but in time, our children will grow up and decide for themselves. Have faith in our kids and let’s discipline them for any road they choose to take rather than create one for them.