Discipline for 3-5 year olds

Parent should take the proper measures to effectively reprimand their children.

A natural part of parenting is guiding children's behavior. Photo credit: Pixabay.
A natural part of parenting is guiding children's behavior. Photo credit: Pixabay.

According to Michigan State University Extension, a natural part of parenting is guiding children’s behavior. At approximately age 3 and older, children are capable of understanding directives, have developed memory and can sense how other individuals are feeling, such as mad, happy and sad. Setting family expectations for young children can be a difficult task that will take patience, consistency and deliberate thinking on what the parent is trying to teach the child. When setting out rules or expectations for a child to follow, it is helpful if there are two to three at a time. This allows the parent to be consistent and helps the child not to become overwhelmed. According to the University of Missouri Extension, parents can start with some preventive strategies, such as being consistent and clear, create a safe environment, show interest in the child’s play, provide age appropriate toys, give choices and focus on the desired behavior. It is also important to notice when children do good things, help them see how their behavior affects others and set a good example.

When a child displays inappropriate behavior it is important that parents stop and ask themselves; is the child really doing something wrong? Is the child capable of doing what is expected of them? Did the child know it was wrong? Once the parent has answered these questions, they can decide what technique they will use to correct the behavior.

Some common techniques are:

  • Natural consequences
  • Logical consequences
  • “Fix up”
  • Timeout
  • Redirection

In natural consequences, a child will experience a type of discipline. A parent telling their child, “Don’t throw the ball in the house, if you do, I will put it away” is a great example of a natural consequence. If the child throws the ball after, then they lose having the ball. No further discipline is needed; losing the privilege of having possession of the ball is discipline enough. In Logical consequences, a child may desire to stay up late regardless of a parent’s attempts to get them to bed and have to attend school the following day. In “Fix-ups,” children who cause distress or damage will make amends, help repair or pay for damaged items. Timeout requires a quite area where a child is sent to think over or reevaluate how their behavior affected the other person.  Timeout should be a place that is not enjoyable without TV, games and other fun activities. In redirection, a parent introduces some alternative activity to the child. Finally, it is important that parents reassure their child they are loved after they have been reprimanded and that it was their actions that were not acceptable.

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