Last updated on Jun 22nd, 2021 at 11:18 am

Disciplining young children takes patience and a lot of effort, but children feel loved and secure when there are well-defined boundaries in place and will respect you for enforcing these boundaries if you do it with love and fairness.

To discipline children effectively, you need to be firm and consistent in your approach. Here are some tried (and well tested) tips for disciplining young children. No-one says it will be easy to apply the discipline guidelines below, but after scouring countless parenting books and articles, these are the ones that work for me (most of the time)…..

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Make sure your request is heard and clearly understood by your child

Be simple, straight-forward, obvious, and understandable in a clear, short sentence that explains exactly what you mean. There is no point shouting from the kitchen to your children that the TV goes off in five minutes. They may either pretend not to hear you or may actually not be listening.

A good tip for getting your point across to young children is to physically go down to their level and give an instruction while making eye contact (They canâ??t pretend to have not heard you now).

Donâ??t bend your own rules â?? be consistent in your approach to discipline

If thereâ??s a â??maybeâ?? in your sentence, be sure that children will hang on to that and use your lack of conviction to bend the rules. You also need to have the same rules for each day and for each child.

Make sure both parents agree on the rules and support each other

If you are going to relax the bedtime rules over weekends for example, ensure that your partner is aware of this. Children learn very early that parents can be manipulated and played off against each other. Even if you donâ??t really agree with your partnerâ??s decision, support him in front of the children and argue your case behind closed doors afterwards.

Be firm yet loving in your approach

You want your children to listen and obey you because they know it is the right thing to do and that you make rules because you care about their health, welfare and happiness. If rules are only obeyed out of fear, you will never know if your child is obeying you because they realise that you have their best interests at heart, or just because a smack is the other option.

Take time to explain why you are enforcing a rule; it might not work the first time, but if you are consistent and repetitive it will hopefully sink in eventually.

Donâ??t get into energy-sapping battles with young children

While you are being firm and enforcing a rule, try to remain calm at the same time. Screaming and punching the wall will only deplete you of necessary energy needed to bath, feed and get them to sleep later and whatâ??s more, they will feel justified in throwing a tantrum if they see Mommy doing it too! (Besides which, you wonâ??t win….. a strong-willed toddler can keep a couple of peas under her tongue all night if she has decided not to swallow them â?? try and compete with that!)

Have consequences when disciplining children

“”It is bedtime, (bath time, meal time) in five minutes”” is a clear direction. Now follow through on this.You have given a five-minute warning and when the time is up, they need to obey you. If the child refuses, they need to know that they will have to go without dinner, for example. If you are opposed to starving your little angels, let them eat in their room without their usual treats (like dessert or the television). A word of advice: donâ??t let them forgo their bath as punishment â?? this may be the response they want! As far as the bedtime rule goes, Iâ??ve managed to get mine into bed, but enforcing sleep is another matter…. your child may just have to be tired at school for a few days to realise the necessity of getting enough sleep.

Child Discipline In Summary: With discipline we are teaching our children how to have self control, self discipline and to become self reliant, so they are able to make good choices for themselves. This means not over-protecting them, or doing everything for them, but maximizing their opportunities to learn through personal experience and observation, even when this means making mistakes (and you will make them too!).

Firm, consistent parenting is quality parenting. You learn to trust your own responses and your children are surrounded by your loving constancy. Your reward then becomes a happy, well adjusted family.