While there are many parenting styles that work for different families, most parents agree that some discipline is necessary to teach children right from wrong. Starting in infancy, parents can engage in positive discipline to set their kids on the right path to good behavior.
Today we have six positive discipline tactics that really work. Next time you’re in a behavioral pickle, try one of these to turn the situation around and get everyone back on track.
Solicit Their Help: Kids do love to be helpful; it’s part of their tiny human nature. Appeal to this natural instinct to help by putting some responsibility on them. If you present the disciplinary issue as a problem they can help resolve, they may be more inclined to do the right thing. They will feel proud and accomplished by helping you out and you’ll get your kids to actually listen. Also, make helping fun by crafting a game out of it as a diversion. If your kids never want to pick up toys, set a timer and see if they can complete the clean-up before the buzzer goes off. If you need 10 minutes of quiet time for an important phone call or to relieve a pounding headache, set up a quiet activity and play the whisper game. You’ll be amazed at how much fun your kids will have helping you while correcting their behavior all at the same time.
Praise During “Time-Ins”: Positive discipline starts by praising good behavior. So if you employ “Time Out” in your house (or even if you don’t), you also need to praise during “Time In.” This begins during infancy and it’s pretty innate. It’s natural to encourage your baby to do good things and praise when he does, such as rolling over, crawling or saying a first word. Practice this same positive discipline tactic to encourage your child when he does something right. Sharing, cleaning-up, listening to directions and using manners are all wonderful times to offer praise. This helps children learn which behaviors you value and develops a sense of pride in himself. He’ll be more likely to want to continue being good because he’ll want your praise.
Fill a Bucket: The Bucket Fillers program is a terrific way to teach babies, toddler and preschoolers positive discipline. The philosophy is that everyone carries an invisible bucket that can be filled when someone does something nice for us or we do something nice for others. But when someone does something mean or we act inappropriately, our bucket is dipped. Bucket fillers have good behavior and bucket dippers do not. It’s that simple. You can talk about this concept in a way that your child can visualize and there is a series of books that can also help further explain it. Introduce the concept early so even your baby will grow up learning to be a bucket filler.
Every Problem Has a Solution: This is a great life-lesson that helps develop problem-solving skills. Everyone will face challenges on a daily basis but the key in life is learning how to solve them quickly and effectively on your own. In infancy your baby may want to get into things that he shouldn’t. Rather than being exasperated and saying “NO” all the time, be more solution oriented by explaining that your things aren’t toys but there are plenty of things around you that are. Exchange your belonging with a fun toy to show him how it’s done. For toddlers who are throwing a tantrum because something has not gone their way, wait for a moment of calmness and discuss a solution. When you teach your kids that every problem has a solution, gradually they will not resort to tears when life throws them lemons and eventually work with you and independently to make lemonade.
Let Kids Set Consequences: It’s pretty hard for kids to argue with punishments when they select the consequence themselves. Of course they’ll need a little guidance from you to make sure getting an ice cream party isn’t their idea of a consequence. Once you set the framework, hold your kids responsible for their actions and enforce the consequence they selected if they don’t behave. It’s important to learn that there are repercussions to bad behavior. But this engaging form of discipline gives your child more power and elicits better results.
Energy Drain Theory: In happy homes, kids really do want to be around their parents for the most part. And they also cherish your ability to do fun things with them. Reframe bad behavior as a “you issue” and explain that you only have so much energy and it can be eaten up by their misbehavior. For example, if your kids are fighting or being too loud in the house, tell them that it’s draining your energy and you won’t be able to take them to do something fun later if you don’t have any energy left. What you’re really saying is if you don’t behave you don’t get what you want. But changing the terms often helps kids wrap their heads around the concept better.
Positive discipline proves to be an effective way to healthy, cooperative, well-behaved children. Use these tactics to elicit effective results throughout your child’s early years.