Disciplinary tactics

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Discipline is important for children and your sanity. It teaches children what’s acceptable and unacceptable, sets boundaries and makes them feel secure. 

But, many of us are inconsistent, letting things go unnoticed and then being extra harsh other times.

Discipline is hard work, but pays in the long run. How can you cope with disciplinary dilemmas?

Choose a strategy
Decide on a form of discipline (e.g. time-out or star charts) and stick to it. Your child needs to know the consequences of bad behaviour.

Make eye contact
Don’t shout from another room. Walk up to your child and look him in the eye.

Stop nagging
Give clear instructions and walk away. If he doesn’t comply, implement consequences without discussion.

Star charts
A star chart is a handy discipline accomplice. Make a list of desirable behaviours (only one or two at a time for pre-school children) and reward your child with stars. At the end of the week (or a day for small children), your child can trade in the stars for a treat.

Time out
Another effective discipline strategy: Use a kitchen timer to time these sessions ,increase time incrementally with age, e.g. two years old - two minutes; three years old – three minutes.

Have a meeting
Always a good idea, especially if your children are older. Draw up an agenda and allow all family members to discuss ideas and concerns.

Whatever your strategy, be consistent. Inconsistency guarantees failure, and increases your child’s anxiety levels.

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