How to Discipline & Manage Behavior
In my opinion, how to discipline and manage your child’s behavior is one of the hardest parts of parenting. I know it is certainly a topic that I am continually seeking advice and strategies for. So who better to learn from than other moms like me? Let’s find out some real-life tips for how to discipline and manage behavior from moms like us!
18 Real Mom Tips for How to Discipline & Manage Behavior
1. Every Child is Different
“One key to remember is that all children are different. That being said we use positive behavior and reinforcement followed up with logical consequences at our house. I’ll be sharing a lot more about Parenting a Strong Willed Child in March and the tools I’ve used over the years.” Kim of The Educators’ Spin On It
2. Set Clear Limits
“I focus on positive reinforcement and setting consistent limits. A three step sequence of stating the limit, giving a warning, and enforcing the consequence can be used in a child-centered play therapy session … it is also a great model to use consistently and with follow through as parents.” Laura of Play Dr. Mom
3. “Mean What You Say & Say What You Mean”
“One of the best tips for behavior management I learning while teaching was to always ‘mean what you say and say what you.’ This little mantra has helped me as a parent, also, to remember to be clear and consistent with my expectations and consequences and always follow through with what I say.” Krissy of B-Inspired Mama
4. Choose Your Battles
“I think picking your battles has become really important as Goblin has got older and more independent minded. He will often spend the whole day saying ‘no’ to everything, so I try to only push back on the ones that really matter to me. No point in locking horns more than necessary.” The Monko of Taming the Goblin
5. Remember What’s Developmentally Appropriate
“I try to keep things in perspective regarding my children’s ages and developmental abilities. I once read that children aren’t truly capable of understanding the concept of ‘sharing’ until they are nearly 4 years old. So I don’t expect my toddler to understand it. I just try to find ways to distract him if we are in a difficult situation.” Krissy of B-Inspired Mama
6. Follow Love & Logic
“We follow a love and logic parenting style. The focus is on being a consultant parent. Behaviour issues are the kids problem. It also has a focus on empathy and natural consequences.” Carissa of Creative Green Living (Read Parenting with Love and Logic to learn more.)
7. Implement Consequences Immediately
“I try to implement consquences early on in the game before I’m too emotionally involved. This prevents me from giving warning after warning (or resorting to yelling).” Becky of This Reading Mama
8. Recognize & Give Attention to Positive Behavior
“I’ve found that in both the classroom and at home, kids demonstrate the behavior that is recognized and gets them the most attention. We focus on positive behavior and natural consequences.” Shaunna of Fantastic Fun & Learning
9. Get Out the Camera!
“When I feel like I am being negative with my ‘perpetual motion guy’–I get out the camera and take it with me every where we go. When he makes a good decision, I take a picture and celebrate the moment. At the end of the day, we go through the pictures, and he likes to show the pictures to his dad. It helps me return to the cycle of being focused on recognizing the positives about him, and he loves celebrating his good decisions.” Sheila of Pennies of Time
10. Focus on the Cause of Behavior
“Acting badly or in a way that parents don’t like, is a symptom of something deeper. Sometimes when your kid does something naughty it feels like they have done it on purpose to make you angry. But that is not likely to be the case. There are times when Goblin does something that he knows he shouldn’t do and I find myself wondering whether he did it just to get a rise out of me. It would be easy just to apply discipline methods to the symptom, the action that made you angry. But if you look deeper at why they did it you can often treat the cause and that will be more effective at stopping the behaviour for longer.” The Monko of Taming the Goblin (Find more positive parenting techniques at Taming the Goblin.)
“Any time during the week if something needs attention, we do a time-in or discuss how we can find a solution that respects everyone involved.” Ariadne of Positive Parenting Connection
12. Make It A Game
“One of the biggest concerns I have with my son who is a ‘runner’ is crossing the street. Holding hands is tantamount to torture. So, we devised a ‘ticket’ system. ‘You can’t cross the street unless you have your ticket’—which is an adult’s hand. Once we have crossed the street holding our ‘tickets,’ we then squeeze our sons’ hands gently as if we are punching a ticket (and we make a clicking sound, too). He loves that it is a game! (I love that he reminds us to make sure we have our tickets when we cross the street.)” Sheila of Pennies of Time
13. Count to Ten
“One thing that works really well for me, and I don’t quite know why, is counting calmly to ten. again, I wrote a post about it, mainly because I was so stunned by how effective it is.” The Monko of Taming the Goblin
14. Teach Kids the Correct Language
“We have two kids, so of course sharing is an issue in our house. We don’t want the kids fighting over toys, but we found that teaching them to ask ‘Can I use that?’ was perceived as threatening by the child holding the desired toy and increased their possessiveness of the toy. Instead, we taught our kids to say ‘When you are done using that toy, may I use it please?’ We found that by having the asking child indicate that he/she was willing to wait until the other child was done, the child holding the desired toy was much more willing to agree to share the toy later.” Katie of Gift of Curiosity
15. Require a Respectful Tone of Voice
“My kids are both 3 years old, and are still learning how to talk to adults in a respectful way. For example, we expect them to say ‘please’ when they make a request and to answer ‘no thank you’ in a *nice* tone of voice when responding to us. Of course, they frequently forget these lessons. When this happens, we simply say ‘try that again’ and 99% of the time they will adjust their words and/or tone of voice to be more respectful.” Katie of Gift of Curiosity
16. Offer Choices
“My kids have gone through stages where they are much more compliant when they feel like they are in control. In those instances I try to offer them appropriate choices (‘You need to brush your teeth and get in your pajamas. Which would you like to do first?’) and they are often more likely to follow through with my direction.” Krissy of B-Inspired Mama
17. Use a Visual Reminder
“We also do a variation of this Thankful Bouquet from time to time when there is a specific behavior that we want to work on. We might use it for remembering to clean up toys without prompting, solving a dispute together nicely, etc.” Shaunna of Fantastic Fun & Learning (Or try a reward chart!)
18. Hold Weekly Meetings
“We hold weekly family meetings where we get to talk about things we have appreciated about each other over the past week, talk about the week ahead like household tasks everyone wants to pitch in with, schedules, meal plan and then we do something fun, like tell jokes, play a game or a dance party. Our kids really look forward to this time together, everyone has a chance to talk and practice listening plus we have fun.” Ariadne of Positive Parenting Connection
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