- Clearly and simply state expectations according to your child's ability to understand.
- Briefly give the reason behind your expectation.This will teach children to think logically.
- Together discuss and establish rules and consequences before tempers are out of control.
- Make consequences reasonable, respectful, predictable, and reliable.
- If a child ignores an expectation, briefly state the consequence. Younger children may need a reminder before you enforce a consequence. However, if that warning is ignored, immediately follow through with the consequence and stick to it.
- If you want children to listen to you the first time, then you must follow through on expected consequences—each and every time.
- Don’t set consequences you won’t keep or make ridiculous threats you have no intention of enforcing. That is why it is important to have already thought-through consequences.
- Do not feel guilty about enforcing a consequence. The child made the wrong choice. You may want to use empathy, such as acknowledging that you realize the child has had an important privilege taken away, but the next time they will know that you mean what you say and this should help prevent future problems and confrontations.
If consequences aren’t consistently enforced, they are useless. Enforcing consequences may take enormous stamina but you will have fewer problems as your children grow older if you enforce consequences when they are young.
A Personal Note
A Personal Note
I have been fortunate. My daughter with special needs has a very sweet disposition and wants to please me. On a few occasions when she was younger and I did not like her behavior, I would send her to her room to think and perhaps take a nap. When I checked on her a short time later, she would be soundly asleep. She was tired and the nap magically cured the crankiness. Now that she is older, I only need to tell her that I don’t appreciate her behavior and she thinks about what she has said or done. She does not want my disapproval so she cooperates. She knows that I love her dearly and that I only ask things that are fair and consistent. I praise her often for good behavior and for helping me or others. We respect each other.
The same holds true for my grandchildren. I even made a list of rules for the grandchildren to obey while in my home. It keeps my sanity and they know their boundaries so that we can all have a good time together. Now we don't even need the list. My husband often uses humor to remind children of their behavior. He exaggerates what they are doing. By acting silly, they see the inappropriateness of their behavior, we have a good laugh, and discipline is rarely needed. But they know that we mean what we say and follow through every time.
"No means no. I don’t argue with children. I have my reasons for saying no. When I say no it is due to time, money, safety or health concerns. We don't want anybody to get hurt and we want everyone to have a good time (or learn).” This works in the classroom, too. The more you say it, the better it works.
This is a series on Discipline. Click on links below to view other posts:
For more tips see my books: Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents and The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn.