Discipline is a part of our life. It is one of the first things should be taught to a child.
If kids have good discipline, it means that they will behave well in real-life situations.
So, how to teach your child discipline? These following tips will be helpful for parents seeking answers.
1. What exactly is discipline?
Discipline can be understood as a way to show people right and wrong behaviors – what to do and what not to do. Parents need to understand that discipline is not entirely punishment.
The best strategy to teach discipline to kids is through communication and models and not through negative punishment.
The most important point is that kids understand how to act appropriately in many situations and manage their feeling well.
Harsh punishment is the wrong approach to discipline children. Physical violence only brings negative consequences. Kids can develop challenging attitudes and resentment.
Besides, hurting your kids is not the correct way to respond to their mistakes. Children must feel safe and loved at all costs.
2. When should discipline be taught?
Some people may think that their babies are too young for this. But in fact, teaching discipline should start as soon as possible.
Children are blank papers. The sooner you tell them what is right or wrong, the better it will be.
For infants, they don’t understand much about the world and their own behaviors. So if you show disagreement when they do something bad, they will learn that mistake and avoid it.
For example, a lot of babies like playing with food and get them splashed everywhere. But they don’t know it is bad behavior unless you tell them.
Of course, you can’t and don’t need to resort to punishment. Just simply shake your head and say no when they do so – maybe with a serious face.
When your kid is a bit older, he or she may frequently struggle with simple tasks, which can lead to anger and frustration. Parents should mind these situations and help them soothe out the feeling.
Parents can find out the suitable methods of discipline in various ways, from media to books. Some of the recommended books are:
- No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury
- Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting by Dr. Laura Markham
- Positive Discipline for Preschoolers: For Their Early Years–Raising Children Who are Responsible, Respectful, and Resourceful by Jane Nelsen Ed.D.
3. Let’s set some rules in the family
Every lesson starts in the family. Parents can teach kids discipline by setting rules for the household.
Encourage them to follow these rules. They can be small regulations like “Helping with cleaning dishes after meal”, or “water the plant twice a day”.
Make sure that you clearly explained to them why they need to follow them: for a better daily life of your family. Teach your children that everyone has the same responsibility to help out.
4. Be a role model
You can not expect your children to do something that you don’t. They learn through seeing and copying.
If parents want to show children how to behave well, you could try to demonstrate. Do exactly what you want them to learn.
For example, you want them to tidy up their beds, you have to show them how you do it every morning. Then, your kids will follow suit.
Moreover, don’t do anything that you don’t want your kids to copy. If you teach them about modesty, don’t go around and boasting about yourselves.
It is true that if you want your kids to learn discipline, you have to be self-discipline yourselves.
5. Use reminders
Discipline is a whole process with complicated parts. Children can not remember all of them at one time.
Therefore, parents should use some kind of reminders. They can be sticky notes, stickers, morning alarms or anything you can think of.
Reminders will help them to follow self-discipline easier and get into the routine faster. It is also better than keep telling them what to do all the time, which can be tiring and irritating.
Parents can stick notes on the refrigerators, onto boards or walls. Even more, you can create a chart of what to do and what not to.
Try to be creative and cheerful with the reminders. It will make self-discipline less a task and more a fun game for your kids.
6. Praise the kids
Yes, every good thing they do deserve recognition and praise. But do you know how to correctly praise them?
If you only say “You are good!’, your child will not learn a thing. Praising is not that simple.
Good praise is a descriptive and encouraging one. Tell them why they deserve applause and encourage them to keep doing good things.
For example, if your kid helps a grandma cross the busy street, you can praise him like this: “It is nice of you to help that lady crossing the street. Next time, if you see anyone in need of help, don’t hesitate to do so.”
7. Consequences, not violence
When your kids behave badly, some parents, in anger, resort to violence. However, this approach is not recommended.
Using punishment is not a proper way to educate your children. They don’t have a chance to know what they did wrong or understand the negative result of their doings.
Besides, kids will be likely to be sulky and oppose parents when getting punished. These negative feelings should not be given to them.
Instead, setting clear limits and consequences is a better way to teach your kids discipline. Through them, gradually the children will know what is wrong and its bad results.
For example, when your kid does not put away his toys, there will be no snack for him the next day. The kids will know that their behaviors are not good, and be more willing to correct them.
Make sure that you explain the consequences clearly to them with calm words. No shouting, yelling or any kind of aggressive expressions should be should.
And you should prepare them beforehand. Tell them about some of the common consequences they can meet if they do wrong in real-life situations.
If you plan to go to the supermarket with them, explain that they can’t open the goods without payment. If they open it, they will have to pay for them and for the fine. Don’t let bad thing happens without any preventative measure.
8. Practice and practice
Practice is the key to success. Let your kids practice every day and they will surely be well-behaved.
The most important thing is to create a good routine for your children. If they know exactly what they need to do, they would be less confused and distracted by other activities.
The routine should be rounded, including every daily aspect of their daily life. From household chores to schoolwork, you should arrange them properly.
However, keep it as simple as possible so your children can understand and follow it effortlessly. You can use charts or decorated tables on the wall to make routines.
Supervise them follow the routine closely, and offer help if they need it. This will also help to improve the relationships in your family.
9. Everything has a reason
Asking your kids doing something without telling them the meaning is pointless. They don’t see the value of it and less chance of learning anything from it.
Never say “Put away your toys” to them. They don’t understand the head or tail of the work and see no difference in doing or not doing it.
Instead, tell them “Can you put away your toys for me? It will make our house tidy, and no one will trip over them when walking in our house. Besides, you will find them easier in a box when you want to play next time.”
So, they will understand that doing that work is a good thing to do, not just because their parents tell them to complete it.
Using suggestive or asking tones is also better than commands. They will feel like they are important and needed, not being forced into doing so.
10. Problem-solving skills are good for your kid’s discipline
Not only in learning discipline, but problem-solving skills are also important in real life. They will assist you in making choices and coping with different situations.
If your kids have trouble in doing something, ask them to sit down and come up with solutions for it. This would help them to avoid rushing and making mistakes.
Furthermore, they will learn that having good solutions and preparations beforehand will help them respond better in unexpected situations. From that, they will learn that being orderly – a part of discipline – is necessary.
For example, if your kids often run up and down to find their uniforms every morning and get late for school, ask them to think of a way out of this mess.
It can be preparing for the clothes at night, so they can dress quickly and go to school on time.
11. Reward your kids
Some people may think of reward as a kind of indulgence. However, a good reward will encourage your kid’s good behaviors.
Rewards do not necessarily be money or expensive items. Rather, you should choose the meaningful one to reward your children. They can be their favorite snack or a book that they like.
However, the reward system should not be long-term. The best time to reward them is at the beginning of discipline education.
It should phase out gradually and naturally when your kids grow older and behave well. When your kids think of discipline as a part of their life, the reward is no longer needed.
Teaching your child discipline requires effort, time and patience. It may be hard and tiring, but it benefits both you and them. After all, disciplined people are the most successful ones in life.