Learn the best ways to discipline a child, effective parenting tips and other positive methods for helping children of all ages with any type of behavior problems. There are many different consequences that you can give kids to help them learn from actions that you do not want them to do in the future. This can be done effectively, through loss of privileges, time out for kids and logical consequences. When it comes to helping children be the best they can be, disciplining may be one of the most important ways you can accomplish this.
Sometimes parents feel bad if their children get angry or sad because they aren’t allowed to do or have something, but let me assure you – It is good for them to NOT always get what they want if it involves behaviors that are unacceptable! It’s even better for them to learn that actions have consequences at an early age. Ideally, putting into place some positive behavior supports first can help prevent an issue from happening at all, but that's not always possible and sometimes it's good for kids to learn from their mistakes.
Although one of the ways to discipline a child may involve yelling at or spanking, this is not recommended. Disciplining just means that you should give a consequence, such as no TV or video games, when their behavior or attitude is deserving of this. Consequences can come in many forms, including time out, having to do extra chores, or losing a privilege. They do not have to be punitive, harsh or degrading, but merely a way to help them learn a better action to perform.
Loss of privileges is a great way to help children learn from their mistakes. Using this technique as discipline for toddlers, may be difficult given their inability to completely understand the concept as it relates to their behaviors. Despite that, this can be one of the ways to discipline a child that is younger, when logically applied short term to their behavior (eg. immediately taking a toy away they are using to hit another child), but it generally is best for older children that can understand why they are losing the privilege.
Start by letting them know in advance what behaviors will result in loss of certain privileges and what those will be. Always be sure to follow through on this as well or it will not be effective. If you say there is no TV for one day, then there should be absolutely no TV (not even for video games) for one day. It may help to make a chart, for older children that can read, listing the behaviors and their consequences.
The severity of loss should fit their age and the behavior. When choosing the best ways to discipline a child that is preschool aged, the loss should not exceed one week, but is better to be approximately one day depending on the action displayed. For older children that are aware of days, weeks and months you can have the time period be longer. Just beware of the possibility that they could lose all privileges and then have terrible behavior because they have nothing left to lose.
For high frequency behaviors, you may choose to make the time period shorter so that they don’t feel like there is no point in even trying to be good. For example, if hitting is a major problem that happens a lot during the day, you may remove a favorite toy for 15 minutes every time they hit. If they hit 4 times, then they lose it for one hour. Showing this in a visual timer adding 15 minutes each time, is a good way for them to understand the consequence.
Some other ways to discipline a child could include loss of free play before bedtime or loss of free play after school. If cursing is a problem, you may say they will lose 5 or 10 minutes of free play before bedtime for each curse word said. Then if bedtime is typically at 9 p.m. and they said three curse words that day, their new bedtime would be 8:30 p.m. (curse words said at bedtime can cause loss of free play before bedtime the next day).
For parents that are able to provide a weekly allowance, you might deduct part of that amount for certain behaviors. If you typically allow 2 hours of TV each day, you might deduct part of TV time for that or the following day depending on whether the child has already watched it for the day when they do the behavior.
I do recommend if you are having tantrums that evolve around having to stop TV or stop playing video games, to not allow these privileges for 1-4 days following that behavior depending on age. This is a logical and related consequence to the behavior.
Another option would be to have them earn the item back after it is removed for at least one day. This may mean doing extra chores around the house or extra chores for a sibling that was affected by the behavior. You may even use this method for kids that don’t clean up their toys when you ask them to. Simply pick them up yourself and then have them do a chore to earn them back of course this would imply they want the item back enough to do a chore.
One of the most common ways to discipline a child, is through loss of phone privileges. With more kids having access to these fun gadgets, it can be a very effective consequence for them to lose opportunities to play games and other fun activities. You can do this by downloading the app called Our Pact. The free version allows you to create a schedule for when they are able to use the device that you control from your own phone.
It also allows you to block access at any time for a specified amount of time directly from your own phone wherever you may be. I also find this to be a great tool that allows me to block my older son from using his phone until after he has completed his chores when coming home from school if I am still at work. It does not limit the ability to call or play music. It just temporarily removes game apps and the internet. My son can then call me when he is done and I can grant him access again.
addition to losing privileges or using logical consequences, some parents may
also want to learn how to discipline children with time outs. This page provides step by step instructions for
doing this and includes a video snippet of Supernanny showing the struggle it
can be to implement at first and the end reward of following through and
If you haven't already, be sure to download my free eBook with the best tips and techniques for helping all children by clicking the image below!