What’s Positive About Discipline?
A toddler’s job is to get to know the world by seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling everything. They move very quickly, touch everything, put everything in their mouth, do not understand “breakable” and are prone to injuries. Toddlers are very busy exploring their world but cannot understand the risks. A parent’s job is to provide safe places for their toddler to explore through the use of positive discipline.
For many, the word discipline and punishment mean the same thing. The word discipline means to teach. Discipline teaches children what is right and wrong so they can grow and develop without hurting themselves or others. The use of discipline shows love and respect for your child. When a child is punished, they learn how to yell, use bad language and hurt themselves or others. Punishment hurts children’s bodies and feelings. It can even make a child misbehave more!
Positive discipline starts with prevention.
- Prevent dangerous situations by closely supervising your child indoors and outdoors.
- Safety proof your home by getting on your hands and knees so you can see your home from your child’s point of view.
Begin to set limits or rules.
- Use simple language and be consistent with rules. For example “Always hold my hand when you get out of the car”. Your child may not fully understand these rules or follow them all the time so it is important not to expect too much from your child too soon.
Use statements that tell your child what to do instead of what not to do.
- For example, instead of saying “Don’t jump on the sofa”, you could say “Sofas are for sitting”. Catch your child doing good things and give praise for good behaviour.
Offer toddlers choices.
- A child’s job is to become more and more independent. If you always tell your child what to eat, what to wear, and what to do, your child may resist. No becomes a favourite word.
- Offer your child two choices that are okay with you. For example, rather than “Here, put on your clothes”, try “Would you rather wear the blue outfit or the green one? You decide”. This gives your child a feeling of control but does not allow them to say no.
For more information on parenting:
Children See Children Learn
EarlyON Child & Family Centres
Zero to Three
Last updated: March 2020