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Using Discipline and Consequences

Did you know that what you do right after any of your child’s behavior makes a difference? This may be why your child has good behavior some days and not others. Learning how to use discipline and consequences can help you have more good days with your child. It can also help you get behaviors you like to happen more.

Keys to Using Discipline and Consequences

  1. Use social rewards (like hugs and kisses) more than material rewards (like toys or candy). Social rewards can be given often and are more powerful! Click here to learn more.
  2. Sticker charts or similar reward programs can help change your child’s behavior. Click here to create your own reward chart.
  3. Ignoring misbehavior means taking away your attention. It helps stop misbehaviors like tantrums, whining, and interrupting. Click here to learn more.
  4. Want to reduce misbehavior? Try these five steps.
  5. Distracting your child can help stop misbehaviors. It works by getting your child to think and do something else so he doesn’t continue to misbehave.
  6. Toddlers and preschoolers have short attention spans. Give consequences right after a misbehavior so they can remember what they did that you do not like.
  7. Use consequences that match your child’s age and stage of development. Click here to learn more.

Tips for Using Discipline and Consequences

Stay calm.

Children pick up on their parents’ feelings and actions. When your child is misbehaving or you are disciplining your child, be sure to stay calm. If you yell or get upset, your child’s behavior will likely get worse along with yours. This makes things more difficult and frustrating to handle.

Use logical consequences.

Consequences for broken rules should be related to the misbehavior when possible. For example, if your child doesn’t follow the house rule of sharing her toys, she could lose the toy for a set amount of time.

Explain to your child how his behaviors make other people feel.

Instead of just telling your child to “say you’re sorry,” tell your child how his behavior makes other people feel. This helps your child understand why he shouldn’t misbehave. You will need to do this a lot with young children before they understand.

Be consistent when using discipline.

Follow through with consequences each time a misbehavior occurs. Your child should know she loses her toy each time she bangs it against the window. If you don’t follow through, your child may think she can sometimes get away with misbehaviors and the misbehaviors will continue.

Explain family rules and consequences to others who care for your child.

Take time to explain the family rules and the consequences for breaking the rules to everyone who cares for your child. Make sure they understand that they should enforce the family rules as consistently and predictably as you.