Disciplining a preschooler; how to go about it

Sometimes children really nag, but reacting angrily won’t make things right. Net photo.

It is necessary to teach kids good behaviour when they are still young, however, it is important to know how to discipline them appropriately. 

Offer choices. Not all the time does it have to be “do this”, “stop that” or always using a commanding language. Sometimes, give a kid alternatives to choose from. For instance, instead of commanding a child to wear a dress, may be ask her to make a choice of what she prefers to wear. She might be interested in wearing jeans. Listening to kids sometimes saves one the drama and tantrums.

Take away privileges. If a preschooler refuses to perform a task as agreed or asked, try cutting down some privileges until they do what they are supposed to do. Take away a favourite toy, game, or TV privileges for the rest of the day.

Notice good and bad behaviour. If kids do something good, praise them, however, when they make mistakes, show them that you are not happy with them. A child should be able to read your face and notice when you are sad at what they are doing, it is an indication that what they are doing is wrong.

Differentiate between what is right and wrong. Single out what the right character is and what bad behaviour is and explain why they are bad and others good. Inform the little ones on the punishments they will be given when they break the rules.

Eliminate the cause. If you know why your children act the way they do, then find solutions to that, take an example; if your child refuses to eat food yet they are hungry, get to know why. May be the child is fed up of the same type of food; if it is so then keep changing it often.

Be a role model. A child will do what he or she watches you do. If you talk while eating, it will be hard for you to stop them from doing that, because it is what she watches you do always.

Sometimes ignore. Have you noticed that at times kids spoil stuff just to get your attention? Know when to ignore them. When less attention is given, they will eventually leave whatever they are doing.

Do some redirection. Switch from one activity to another. Maybe, if your child is obsessed with watching TV, go with them to the field, play some sports, do some painting. This will help reduce the time they spend on looking at a screen.

Urge problem-solving tactics. When your child beats up a sibling, advise him to say sorry and let him help him stop crying. This would teach them that fighting or beating one another is bad, but apologising when you make a mistake is also a lesson that could be learnt.

Instill values. If children urinate on themself, clean them and then show them the potty and explain why it is necessary for them to use it but train them on when and how to use it.

Stay calm. Sometimes kids really nag, but reacting angrily won’t make things right. How about addressing the matter calmly with a proper tone? Instead of telling a child that she is mean because she never shares her toys with her friends, instead, let her know the value of sharing. You can make a point in a short, but yet positive manner.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com