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There are many disciplining techniques and those most effective are NOT involving corporal punishment. Spanking is not a good form of punishment and should be avoided at all cost. The disciplining techniques parents and caregivers use should also be based on a child’s age and the expectations you have should remain appropriate for that age. This is extremely important since for obvious reasons, if a child is too young, most discipline will not work. For example, explaining to a 12 month old why she is being punished for hitting her friend isn't going to get you very far if she can't yet understand reasoning. Below are some techniques I use that I have found effective.
Focus on good behaviour instead of bad behaviour. Parental and caregiver attention is one of the most powerful forms of positive reinforcement. I give lots of hugs and attention and tell them ie. “You are so well behaved. You are such a good boy (/girl).” Even when they they fight, for example, I would say. “I know you are such good boys. What is the reason you are fighting? (Then I listen to both children’s explanation). I then correct their mistaken behaviour, and talk to them in a nice way and let them know “what you are doing is not good”. I talk to them until they realize what they did is wrong and tell them the right behaviour and then tell them to “say sorry to each other”. Often times, later they approach me and tell me “Monette, I just gave half my bread to Adam.”
This technique literally involves the simple act of redirecting a child to a more appropriate behaviour. This can be an easy technique, where you can just show them a new toy, or suggest a new activity and soon they have forgotten what they were doing before.
Explaining what you want a child to do and why can help the child develop good judgment. I explain to children once they reach an age where they can understand (16months), that, for example, certain items are toys that can be played with, but other items are not toys and should not be played with. I then just need to remind them “That is not a toy.” and they know not to touch it.
Time-outs involve physically removing a child from a problem situation. Sending a child to a neutral and "boring" area, such as the corner of a room with no toys or television, and ignoring the child until the child is calm and quiet. Time-outs should not last longer than five minutes. A good way to gauge how long the time-out is, is one minute of time-out per child’s year of life. I rarely need to use time-outs since my other techniques are so effective.
Explain the rules and be prepared to repeat them until a child learns to follow them on their own. I use this often and the children easily learn to follow the rules.
Children should learn that privileges come with responsibility and they need to be earned. In order to be effective, this technique should be used infrequently. A privilege that is valued by the child, such as watching television or playing with friends, should be removed.
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