Simple to use discipline tips and tricks that actually work.
Parenting: Age 2-5 Toddler
Parenting: Age 5-11 School Age
Parenting: Tips & Tricks
Dealing with a child who has bad manners, is throwing a tantrum, or is otherwise being "unreasonable" is never fun. But follow our discipline tricks that work below and you can avoid the problems before they become problems.
Pick Your Battles
You don't win a war by fighting on multiple fronts. And sometimes discipling a child is like being in the trenches so pick your battles wisely to avoid being overwhelmed. Find the one or two big issues and focus on those alone for now.
Is your kid throwing constant tantrums, talking back to you, throwing stuff, fighting with kids, refusing to pick up their toys, or won't brush their teeth? Or maybe several of those? Pick one and work on that for a while. Don't give in, don't reward them, deal with that one thing consistently.
Discipline your child with play time? What? It may not sound like a discipline tool but it actually is. Playing with your child is a great way to prevent behavioural issues and it can help reduce their desire for your attention.
Think about it, a huge part of a child acting out is to get your attention. Instead of letting things come to that, play with your child every day. Give them at least half an hour of your time to play a board game, toss a frisbee, swim in the pool together, or do a craft. Focus on them and the fun and let them choose the activity.
It's important to praise your child. Positive reinforcement like that is good for everyone. Who doesn't like to hear "great job" or get an "attaboy" every now and then.
In addition to praising your child face to face, trying offering praise about your child to others. When Tommy's mom comes home from a long day in the coal mines, be sure to mention how good little Tommy did on his homework to her while Tommy's around. Kids love hearing a little bragging about themselves from their loved ones.
Be A Yes Mom Or Dad
Find yourself constantly saying "no" all the time? Yea, we've all been there. Kids get really frustrated with the constant stream of no's they receive from parents and teachers all day long. When your child is asking for something trying pausing, listening, and then really thinking about what they're asking for.
Is there a good reason they can't go outside and play? Do you really want to stop them from breaking out the Lego bin just because it makes a mess 30 minutes before dinner? Or, is saying no just a habit? Trying saying yes whenever possible and when it makes sense. This reminds every child of what they can do and gives them freedom to learn and explore. Then, when they ask for that drum set it won't just be another long line of "no" answers. It will be a "no" because giving a drum set to your kid is insanity!
Every find your child doing something they shouldn't be doing, or just doing it the wrong way? Rather than yelling at them or telling them that they're wrong give them a chance to try again. Are little Tommy and Tammy pushing each other to get to the last freezer pop? Stop them and ask them to try again, to make a different choice. See if they can figure out how to work together. If not, try suggesting an alternative with choices like splitting the last freezer pop between them or having them watch you eat it all!
Don't Go There, Come Here
Ever try getting your child to go do something right now. It's as if the world almost stops and life is now in uber slow motion. They don't want to be told to go there and do that. And, really, who does?
Instead of telling them to "go pick up your clothes," try instead asking them "please come with me to pick up your clothes." The tone changes from confrontation to more of a team situation. Tossing a "please" on the front teaches them how to be polite as well. Holding hands or giving a small pat on the back as they walk by is further positive reinforcement that they're doing well.
Kids get bored. Easily. They just want to be entertained and that doesn't have to mean 5 hours of TV watching or playing on a computer or tablet. When kids get too bored they'll interrupt conversations, annoy their sister, and generally be annoying. They desperately want something to do.
You can prevent this scenario by keeping your child active, both physically and mentally. Reading books, playing games, riding bikes, coloring, doing crafts, hiking, swimming, and sports are just some of the many activities that keep kids stimulated.
Of course, thinking of an activity is sometimes hard when you're overly bored so try making a "Stuff To Do" book. Get a 3 ring binder and some 3 hole paper. On each page color out (with your child) an activity that they like to do. Games, puzzles, playing at the park, throwing a ball, etc. Make a bunch and keep adding to it over time. When they need something to do they now have a reminder of all the stuff they like. We even have one for "Stuff To Do On A Rainy Day" that is perfect for when the weather goes bad.
Kids are usually short and adults much taller. We have a tendency to stand up and look down at the child we're talking to. Instead, trying kneeling or crouching down so you're at eye level when you have a talk with your son or daughter.
You're now having a true face to face conversation which is far less scary for them and puts them more at ease. When children are more at ease they're far more likely to absorb and understand what you're trying to tell them.
Timing Is Everything
In addition to picking your battles as I discussed earlier, you have to know when to pick those battles. Don't expect to go over proper dinner etiquette 30 seconds before walking into a nice restaurant. Plan that out a day or two in advance and explain to little Tommy that letting out a huge, rip-roaring fart at Le Petit Chateau (while hilarious) isn't appropriate.
Don't wait until you're on that six hour flight to Hawaii to tell little Tammy that she can't kick the seat in front of her as much as she wants. Work on a new discipline strategy well in advance of when it will be used whenever possible.
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