Year Two – Post 3 | Consistent Discipline
A consistent discipline strategy will make life happier and calmer for you, your child and everyone you spend time with. Have all caregivers agree on the same boundaries and responses so that your child doesn’t get confused. Use the draw the line in the sand approach, and every time she crosses the line from correct to incorrect behavior, be sure that she receives the same consequence or punishment.
When it comes to methods and consequences, you will have to experiment to see which strategies work well with your child. Be consistent regarding unacceptable behaviors and consequences, but try mixing it up when it comes to your responses to the first signs of a tantrum. There are many effective strategies for handling your child’s bad behavior and reinforcing her good behavior. Here’s another tool box for you:
- Distract and redirect your child’s attention.
- Be flexible and pick your battles. Ignore mild unacceptable behavior and praise appropriate behavior.
- Provide choices.
- Use time words such as “now/later” and “when/then” (e.g. “Eat your dinner now, your can have a snack later.” “When you pick up your toys, then we can go.”).
- Use happy faces to reinforce good behavior.
- Use time-out to interrupt misbehavior and to calm your child down so you can explain why he is being disciplined.
- Play a cooperation game (e.g. “Let’s all play with the ball and have fun.”).
Stay calm, mommies and daddies!
– Kathryn Thorson Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series