When is it the right time to start disciplining your child? How do you discipline your child? Why should you discipline your child? If you have asked yourself these questions or wondered about discipline, please keep reading and you will get a few tips that can help you raise your child. Discipline is one of the most important gifts you can give your child. It is a way of teaching your child the basics of right and wrong, not just punishing them. Plus, if it is done correctly, your children will learn to set their own limits as they age.
First off, let’s remember that you can never spoil an infant before 6 months of age. So instead create a routine that will help them feel safe and give their world structure. Setting limits for behavior shouldn’t begin until they reach the age of 8 or 9 months. At this age, it is your job to make sure your child stays safe physically as they become curious and explore the world around them. This can be done by baby-proofing your home.
Children between 9 and 12 months of age may begin to test their limits. Using the word “no” calmly as well as redirection can help them learn right from wrong without shaming or harming the child. Between the ages of 1 and 2 they may even start to make the simple routines of diapering, dressing, sleeping, and eating into a struggle. Continuing the same daily routines and being consistent with limits will help. Also, remember to keep your expectations of your child’s behavior age appropriate.
By the age of 2 or 3, children can verbalize with you and may even talk back. You need to be able to explain what you want them to do in clear, simple terms. Positive reinforcement is also very important at this stage. Spanking and yelling should not be used as forms of punishments, but instead try using a time-out. A time-out can give them a chance to calm down and think about what has happened. As parents you need to remember to always stay calm when you are disciplining your children. If you feel that you aren’t able to maintain control of yourself, then it is important to take time away from the situation.
We recommend reading “Love and Logic: Magic for Early Childhood” by Jim Fay & Charles Fay, Ph.D. It gives practical parenting advice for birth to six years old. Check out their website Love & Logic for additional products for 7-12 years and teens!
For more information about discipline or if you have any questions, feel free to come into Choices and find out more. Remember that disciplining, when done well, is one of the most important gifts you can give your child.
Please share with us any discipline tips that you’ve found to be effective!