Discipline your toddler

Discipline shapes your child’s conduct. When is it’s done right, it protects your child from danger, helps it learn to control itself, teaches a sense of responsibility and instils high standards and values. Parents have a unique bond with their children. You will obtain lasting, positive results when you use disciplinary measures in a respectful and just manner and when your boundaries remain in tact. You need to be aware that societal advice are against corporal punishment, including spanking.

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March 18 th, 2015



Positive discipline

The best way to face difficult behaviour is to set firm boundaries. Toddlers don’t’ understand the concept of cause and effect yet so you need to set the boundaries as follows: “If you hit your brother again (cause) you will sit on time-out (effect). Your child must see that your disciplinary measure is just. If the measure is not constantly applied, your child will find them disconcerting, causing embarrassment and confusion. You need to follow through in order for your child to learn that for every action, there is a reaction.


Congratulate your child as you regularly give it marks of affection. Parents should know what to ignore and should provide transition time between activities. You child needs to know what to expect when you converse with it. Propose limited and realistic choices. Accept mistakes but a good example. Remind your child about the rules regularly. A good limit should be adapted to age and stage of development of your child and is expressed using simple language, practiced with firmness, respect and kindness. We often tell our children ‘to relax’ and ‘calm down’ but we don’t teach them how. Teach your child the principle of breathing and counting to 10.  

Response to negative behaviour

Younger children often respond to frustrating situations with tantrums. When something in your child’s environment frustrates him or her, they are most likely to respond to it in a negative manner. Remove your child from the situation and focus its attention on a different activity.  When your preschooler makes a mess, teach responsibility by asking him or her to help you clean up. Praise the effort, not the end result.  For toddlers, the consequence / action must be immediate. You need to help your child identify their emotions and teach them how to respond properly to their emotions for instance “I can see that you are very angry / upset / frustrated with your brother but hitting is not going to solve the problem.” Negative emotions pass and we should teach our children appropriate behaviour to help them cope with negative emotions.


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