Discipline – A Tough Nut to Crack?

Be warned. This is no child’s play, no pun intended. We are dealing with a surprise a minute in a toddler’s life. You cannot enforce rules randomly. It won’t work. A ‘Shusssh! Stay quiet!’ won’t do. And yet, this is exactly what most parents resort to, for lack of time, patience or energy. Take a look into how to discipline a child in better ways. 

Feeling Confused & Helpless?

To begin with, there is a reason to smile. You are not alone. Think of a time when your child is all grown up and you look back at these times as fond remembrances tucked away somewhere in the crevices of your brain. Nostalgia and memories, what would we do without them? They’re like the sweetest cookies to accompany your hot chocolate on a cold wintry night. Visualize, it’s a great way to beat stress and get back to business!

Much of toddler behavior is unanticipated. Your child will challenge your abilities all the time. There will be several moments in a day when you have to think on your toes. Many parents are jostling between jobs, errands, home and of course giving their utmost attention to their baby.

All of a sudden, the pressure might be just too much, a dam could burst, the flood gates could open. You may resort to a quick fix solution and order your child to comply. Your child might comply at times, but it might just be on the surface. 

You see, you haven’t reasoned with them. They have not understood your point of view. This leads to confusion and mistrust. Yes, gathering up more patience might just look impossible after a tiring day. But take a deep breath, relax for a moment, gather your thoughts and stay calm. How to discipline a child in such situations? 

Communicate with them and help them understand. If this is not done, eventually, they will find a sly way to circumvent your rule and escape parent scrutiny. This may develop into a habit, taking various forms all the way through to adulthood. 

How to discipline a child, without using force? 

Toddlers love games. Remember the film – Life is Beautiful? For the ones who haven’t watched it, this film is one of the finest about child upbringing. 

The film has some brilliant takeaways. The premise it relies upon is that a child understands rewards. The protagonist’s father in the film promises his little son a large army tank as a reward if he wins the game by playing all the rules laid out by his father. The child is in awe with his reward and does everything according to his father’s bidding and yes, eventually, wins his prize! Without realizing it, in following his father’s game rules, the child had navigated brilliantly through some of the toughest challenges life throws at them, saves his own life and wins his trophy.

Returning to our situation – you can keep smaller rewards, not always food or cookies or candies (though sometimes, fun treats are a part of it), but a matter of pride upon accomplishment. This is one of the best ways to discipline a child.

Try a Star Chart!

On a scale of 1-5, prepare a star chart for a week, and start rewarding your child stars based on their daily performance. Here are a few instances you can inform them that you’ll grade them on –

  • arrange their toys back in their places after use, 
  • eat everything on their plate, 
  • sleep on time, 
  • share their food or snack with a friend
  • help you in their own little way to complete a chore
  • don’t throw tantrums in malls to buy them something

Reward them 5 stars for their best behavior exhibited in completing their tasks. Rewards are viable ways to discipline a child and, soon they will fall into a rhythm, enjoy winning, be self-motivated and learn how to apply thought into action. 

No time to make one?

You can find many star charts online for purchase. Just visit any online store and pick among a wide variety available! This sort of positive reinforcement helps raise intelligent and thoughtful children who are self-aware and quick to to hone in their strengths, work on their weaknesses and do their best in any given circumstance without complaining. Try a star chart! Don’t let the question of how to discipline a child bug you anymore. Keep these things in mind.

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