EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Kate’s Corner: Positive Discipline — It Really Works!

Posted on: November 23, 2009

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

All parents, at one time or another, find themselves at a loss when it comes time to be the disciplinarian.  Over and over again, that concern surfaces as we talk to parents, both in our EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers and in the community. As teachers and caregivers, we try to head off that challenge by implementing what we call positive discipline.

Here are some basic tips to use with children of all ages, to help defuse discipline problems before they even start.

1) Established Expectations: Make sure your child knows what he can expect from you. Children often don’t deal well with surprises or know how to cope in new situations, and adults often become frustrated when their children state, “I didn’t know….”  Explain rules and consequences, and follow through with them. Prepare your children ahead of time before putting them into a potentially new or unfamiliar situation, letting them know how you expect them to behave.

2) Consistency is Key: Set your rules and limits carefully, then stick with them. If children are not allowed to eat in the living room today, then they aren’t allowed tomorrow – no matter how tired you are or what relatives are over. If exceptions are made too often, children can’t be sure what is right and what is wrong.

3) Stay Calm: Nobody wins a shouting match. All too often parents say and do things they regret, and feel guilty later because things got out of control. Help your children – and your stress levels – by modeling appropriate behavior for handling anger and frustration.

4) Set Priorities: Decide what infractions you can live with and what is out of the question. One parent may not be able to tolerate children not cleaning up, while another parent may place this at the bottom of the priority list. Pick your battles. And remember, your child assimilates your value system!

5) “Catch” Your Child Being Good: An important part of discipline is praising your child when they’ve exhibited appropriate or exceptional behavior. Be positive, use a loving voice and gestures, and reinforce their efforts to cooperate at every step. Children will always respond to positive praise, no matter what their age.

The word “discipline” often carries a negative connotation, but discipline does not equal punishment! In the field of child development, discipline refers to methods of modeling character and of teaching self-control and acceptable behavior, which is what we strive for here at EduKids.

Make Learning Fun!
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

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2 Responses to "Kate’s Corner: Positive Discipline — It Really Works!"

I have been looking for some advice sort of related to this article. My 3 year old son can be difficult. If he does not get his way, he yells and screams (usually at me or whoever he is angry with) for a very long time. When he was two, I would ignore him (from advice of pediatricians). Now, I think he is too old to ignore. He definitely knows what he is doing. I’ve tried everything from holding him tight, to talking very calmly and stroking him to even yelling back with the hopes he would realize that it’s not nice to yell. He’s still yelling. Any advice would be very helpful! Thanks, and keep up the good work.

Three year olds are really terrific – we see definate signals from them that they are establishing themselves as individuals and trying hard to find where they can find some control – Three year olds can also be “trying” for the exact same reasons! Yelling seems to be a favorite of this age group, it gets immediate attention both good and bad.

You have tried some great ideas, here’s a few more to add;
– offer places and times that allow your three year old to have control (while you still are “in charge”) a visit to a favorite park of his, choosing clothes/ toys / a movie, time he can get going on a Sat…
-offer some fun signs or tricks – teach basic sign lang. or make up some fun signals
-keep your volume and tone conversational, if you are loud he will match and try to be louder
-outide he can run, jump & shout as loud as he wants. Inside no.
-accept other ways that he shows he is angry or frustrated that you find acceptable. This way he is not always in trouble for reactions.
-“Catch him being good”. The more positives you verbally highlight the more he will find ways to make you smile. This helps everyone stay on a positive track!

He got past being 2 and is on his way to 4! Help your son stay busy, focused, have fun and feel important – I know you know a million ways to do that!!

Patience and Pride are the keys to Positive Parenting!

Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you are part of Kate’s Corner!

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