Parenting is so demanding, especially when it comes to instilling discipline in kids. While it may be a tough thing to let your kids suffer the consequences of their bad behaviors, it will help them develop moral ethics. They will remain disciplined up to adulthood.
Discipline is an essential character in every person, and it begins from childhood. It will not only help kids develop a sense of what is right and wrong but also help them learn to respect higher authorities. And it’s the parents who have a higher authority at home.
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How to Discipline Your Child at Different Ages
The kind of disciplinary approach you’ll apply on your kids will always change as they grow, right from when they are babies to when they are teens. Here are some helpful tips for disciplining your kids at different ages.
Disciplining a Baby or Infant (0-12 months)
Infants generally need neither discipline nor disciplinary consequences to their behaviors. They are still learning their surroundings, and cannot distinguish between right and wrong. Babies usually need guidance and protection from potentially harmful things.
As a parent, you need to establish a safe environment for your baby by keeping away the potentially dangerous materials and replacing them with playing toys. You wouldn’t want your ten-month-old baby playing with sharp materials like knives and blades.
When your baby begins to do things they shouldn’t like touching the dirt and hitting the floor, you should redirect them rather than punish them. You can redirect the kids’ attention by giving them something safer to play with or touch.
Disciplining a Toddler (1-3 years)
At this age, your kid will start knowing what’s right and wrong, depending on your reaction to their actions. If a toddler does the right thing, you should praise them for it. If they do something wrong, you can always redirect them to a different activity that is acceptable.
When handling a toddler, you will always find yourself mentioning the word ‘no-no’ all the time. You must, therefore, decide on the behaviors you think the child should uphold and those they should not. You can use simple verbal corrections to disregard lousy conduct.
In most cases, toddlers may misbehave if they cannot express and control their emotions. As a result, tantrums may become the norm as the child struggles to adapt to situations surrounding them. It’s at that point that you should nurture the toddler’s behavior.
As you anticipate triggers causing tantrums, like hunger and tiredness, you should devise the mechanisms to avoid them. Give them food or snacks at the right time and don’t skip their naptime. You’re a lucky parent if your child doesn’t show signs of tempered tantrums.
One of the best ways to calm down toddlers with tantrums is to subject them to quietness. It involves giving the child more time to calm down. You can place the toddler on the bed in their room and tell them you’ll only come to pick them after they calm down.
At some point, you may have to enforce time outs depending on the age of the toddler. If your toddler is two years old, you can subject them to a two-minute time out. You can buy for the child a special chair for time outs. Any time your kid does something wrong, place them on the chair. It will help them understand the consequences of their actions.
Disciplining a Preschooler (3-5 years)
Preschool kids are still trying to figure out how things work and the consequences of their actions. At this age, they will still test your limits when it comes to disciplinary actions. With appropriate guidance, some of the disciplinary measures will begin to work out.
If a preschooler does something wrong, you can subject the child to timeouts. However, some kids may get used to that and feel nothing. In such a case, you should adopt other disciplinary methods like taking away their favorite toys.
To teach the kid responsibility, you should start assigning some simple tasks like keeping away their toys after playing. Some other chores might require close supervision and a step by step guidance. Also, teach the child to treat other people right.
Disciplining a School-Age Child (5-12 years)
At school-age, your child begins to develop a sense of the actions that are right or wrong. You can explain to them the good and bad choices they can make in every situation, and they will understand. Tell them the possible outcomes of every step they take in life.
When your kid reaches school-age, time outs may not be an effective discipline method. If they misbehave, withhold the materials they love most. Such items may include tablets and smartphones. That can be effective because most school-age kids love screens.
Another way to discipline a school-age kid is by restricting them from enjoying privileges. For instance, if your child loves riding a bike, you can limit them from it when they make mistakes. Ensure that the child understands why you are doing that.
As you discipline your kids, try to figure out a disciplinary method that can work best for the child at a particular age. Be ready for conversations as the child becomes a teenager. It will help the two of you to understand each other better when it comes to discipline.
While it’s essential to teach your kid discipline, it’s also your responsibility to invest in your child’s future education. The best way to do that is by opening a Heritage RESP account to start saving for your kids’ post-secondary education as early as possible.