Guiding your Child with Positive Discipline

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Your child’s behavior is affected a lot by his age and stage i.e what he can do, what he is learning, how he understands and experiences the world around him. If you know what to expect as  he grows, you can discipline him in a way he can understand.

Normal behavior What parents can do
Under 1 year of age
  • Cries to make needs known.
  • Gets into everything.
  • Learns by touch, taste, smell, sight and sound.
  • Let your baby learn to self-soothe. Comforting your baby when he is sick, hurt or upset―rather than ignoring or brushing off the feeling―will help him learn how to do this.
  • Say no when your baby does something you don’t want him to, like biting you.
  • Don’t use techniques such as time-out or consequences.
Young toddler
1 to 2 years
  • Is starting to test limits as she explores her independence.
  • May be fearful when separating from you.
  • Will learn to say no.
  • Curious and wants to explore.
  • Too young to remember rules.
  • Create a safe environment that your child can explore.
  • Give your child attention when she is being good.
  • Use redirection, with a brief explanation (“No—hot.”).
Older toddler
2 to 3 years
  • Is becoming more independent.
  • Becomes frustrated when you set limits, and will show it.
  • Becomes very possessive, doesn’t understand the concept of “mine” versus “someone else’s.”
  • Is easily distracted.
  • Some frustration is good because it helps your child start to learn how to problem-solve. But, remember, there are situations your child won’t be able to handle.
  • Give choices when you can.
  • Use time-out to discourage major unwanted behaviors, like hitting.
  • Explain briefly why the behavior is unacceptable.
3 to 5 years
  • Should be able to better accept limits, but won’t always make good decisions.
  • Tries to please and wants to feel important.
  • Can follow simple instructions.
  • Can make choices.
  • Asks lots of questions.
  • Independent.
  • Tries to tell other children what to do.
  • May tell on others.
  • Needs clear and consistent rules.
  • Set an example through your own actions.
  • Time-out continues to be a good technique.
  • Small and appropriate consequences also work.
  • Approval and praise will encourage your child to do good things.
  • Long lectures do not work.