Tag Archive | "toddler discipline"

How To Discipline A Child Without Bribing

Using bribes to discipline children is very common. Why? Because it is very effective. Promising your toddler a toy or treat if he stops crying can automatically stop a stressful and embarrassing situation with your child. However, bribes only work for a short time and the more you bribe your toddler, the more your toddler will feel like he has the “upper hand”. Plus, his motivation to behave and do well is only driven by rewards, threats and ultimatums, and not because he wants to be good without expecting something in return. Here is a guide on how to discipline a child without using bribes.

Keep Your Emotions In Check

Children love testing their parents’ buttons. When this happens, it is hard to manage one’s reaction, so parents use bribes to make their children follow them. However, it is very important for parents to keep their cool so they can better get their children’s cooperation naturally with quiet authority. So the next time you feel like bribing your toddler, stop, count to ten and take deep breaths before you open your mouth again.

Identify and Eliminate Triggers

Instead of thinking how you can get your little one to behave in the heat of the moment which often results to bribing, find out what sets off your toddler’s bad behaviour. For instance, if he gets cranky every time you bring him to the supermarket, leave him at home with a relative or babysitter. If he does not want to eat dinner, do not give him snacks an hour before dinner time. Plan your days according to your toddler’s mood so that your little one has every chance to behave fittingly.

Find The Root of The Problem and Possible Solutions

If your toddler refuses to sleep in his bed, talk to your toddler first instead of bribing him right away. Maybe the reason why he does not want to sleep in his bed is because he is afraid of the dark or he does not want his bed near the window. Once you have figured out the problem, solve it. Plug in a nightlight or stick glow in the dark wall decals. Move his bed away from the window. If you take the time to figure out what is making your child anxious, you can resolve the problem easily without resorting to bribes.

Allow Your Toddler To Learn From His Consequences

Children need to understand there are consequences for their actions, good and bad. If your toddler continues to play with his food after you told him to stop, do not say “Baby, if you finish your food you can have dessert.”., instead, ask him to leave the table and only come back once he is ready to eat. At the same time, praise your toddler after he does something good. This will teach your toddler that good behaviour has good consequences which will motivate him to behave on his own and the need to use bribes is no longer necessary.

Disciplining children without bribing teaches children to think for themselves and to rely on their inner beacons which will help them flourish in life.

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Effective Rewards For Kids To Encourage Good Behaviour

There are many ways to discipline children. One of the most effective methods is to give rewards. Rewards can help children improve and learn new, good behaviours and habits and repress undesirable ones. Here are some effective rewards for kids to encourage them to do well and be good without promoting materialism.

Simple Privileges

Give your toddler simple privileges when he behaves such as extending his time when playing outside, extra 15 minutes of TV and game time, staying up past his bedtime, picking the dessert for dinner and feeding the family pet. Giving these kind of rewards not only teaches your little one positive behaviour but also helps your toddler learn to take on new obligations.


Organize outings. For instance, if your toddler kept his bedroom clean for a month, take him out to dinner at his favorite restaurant or to an amusement park, museum or zoo. Ride your bikes around the neighbourhood. Go to that baseball game he is raving about. Watch movies. Plan a picnic and invite your toddler’s friends to join to make it more fun.

Inexpensive Items

No, you do not have to go over your budget just to reward your toddler for sharing his toy with his sibling. Reward him with inexpensive items such as a new coloring book, crayons, pencils, stickers, a new DVD or toy (that is within your budget) or prepare a special snack and his favorite drink. Simple things like these will make your toddler feel that you are happy and thankful.

Bonding Time With Mommy and Daddy

Take a break from rewarding your obedient toddler with physical items and reward him with extra time with you and daddy instead. Children love spending time with their parents. Let your toddler go to a soccer game with dad. Give your child a piggyback ride. Read him more books before bedtime. Ask your toddler to be mommy’s little helper in the kitchen. Spend the weekend at a hotel or go for a stroll after dinner as a family.

Physical Affection

Pat his back, hug and kiss your toddler often, especially when he did a great job such as making his bed, putting the toys in the box after playing, eating all the fruits and veggies on his plate or helping his sibling clean up. This shows him that good deeds are also rewarded with good feelings, not just material things.

Words of Affirmation

Each time your toddler behaves or does something good, tell him you are proud of him. Say, “Thank you baby for helping your brother. You made mommy and daddy very happy.”, “Good job!”, or “Keep it up!”. A parent’s kind and encouraging words is the most effective way to motivate children.

Positive reinforcement is a powerful way to boost a toddler’s behaviour. By rewarding your toddler, whether through privileges, words of praise or touch every time he does something good, you build his confidence and teach him to repeat those actions.

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Anger Management In Children

Anger is a normal emotion everyone feels every now and then. However, if it is not addressed correctly, anger can turn into violence which can be very detrimental, especially to a child’s development, health and relationships. This guide about anger management in children will help you out.

Model Good Behaviour

The best way to teach your toddler how to deal with anger constructively is to lead by example. If your little one sees you becoming irritated while waiting in line or speaking rudely to your household help, he will assume that anger is an acceptable behaviour. Choose the right words and actions to express anger the proper way. For instance, instead of shouting at him because he keeps on playing with his food, say, “Mommy is angry right now. For the last time, stop playing with your food or you will go into time-out.”.

Promote Self-expression

All too often, toddlers display anger by showing aggression (e.g. screaming, biting, hitting or throwing things) because they do not have the words to show their emotions. Talk to your toddler about his feelings. Ask him what happened, how he feels and what he wants to do about it. Better yet, teach him this statement: “I am feeling ________ when ________ because ________.” This way, every time he feels angry, he can identify his feelings and handle his anger better, making it easier for him to manage this emotion.

Teach Your Toddler How To Relax

It is very important for children to learn how to deal with anger. Teach your toddler ways to cool off. Tell your toddler that each time he feels angry, he should walk away, count to ten, take slow deep breaths and do a relaxing activity (e.g. drawing, coloring or writing in a journal) and come back once he has cooled off. Redirecting one’s thoughts is the best way to calm down so one can think with a level head.

Teach Your Toddler To Resolve Problems

Once your toddler has calmed down, it is time to face the problem. Teach him to solve problems in four easy steps – stop the action, listen, come up with solutions and decide which option is best. Give him different scenarios so he can practice the steps.

Instil The Value of Sympathy

Teach your toddler to empathize and be forgiving of others. Empathy can help your little one feel less irate and annoyed by letting him understand the situation from a different point of view which helps your toddler treat others compassionately. For example, if your toddler is arguing with his playmate because the other child will not share his toy, ask him, “Why do you think your playmate does not want to share?” or “If you were your playmate, would you share your toy?”.

Help Your Toddler Identify The Symptoms

Teach your toddler to spot the signs that warn him he is getting mad. If your toddler’s cheeks get flushed, his eyes widen, if he scrunches his fists or he breathes faster, point them out to him by saying, “Baby, your clenching your fist. Do you feel angry right now?”. The earlier he recognizes the signs, the sooner he can calm himself down.

Teaching anger management in toddlers is not easy. But with a little patience and practice, you can train your child the right way to handle anger and help him deal with different people and circumstances without making his blood boil.

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Five Common Mistakes Parents Make When Disciplining Children

Raising children is no easy task. Disciplining children is even harder and everyone screws up. Here are some discipline mistakes every parent should avoid.

Mistake # 1: Bribing or Using Rewards

“If you clean your room, I will buy you a new toy.” – sounds familiar? This is probably one of the most common discipline mistakes parents make. This strategy may work for a time, but after a while, your toddler will start misbehaving in order to get prizes. Do not bribe or offer a reward just to elicit a good behaviour from your child. Give rewards after a good deed is done.

Mistake # 2: Losing Your Temper 

It is not very easy to stay patient when toddlers do things that are not right. However, losing your patience will not get you anywhere. Plus, it will only show your toddler that the way to get attention is to misbehave, yell or cry. So the next time your toddler behaves badly, especially in public, try not to lose your cool. Count to ten. Breathe in and breathe out for a few minutes and then take both of your toddler’s hands in yours, look him straight in the eye and firmly say “You know that hitting is wrong. Violence is not good.”  The secret is not to humiliate or make your little one feel guilty, but to treat your child with respect.

Mistake # 3: Being Too Negative

There is nothing wrong with setting limits. Limits are good for everyone, especially for children. However, when parents constantly tell their children what to do and what not to do, children feel suffocated, causing them to rebel against the rules. Or when a toddler often hears his parents say “No”, the word loses its power. Instead of saying “Do not hit your brother!” say, “It is not good to hit your brother, you will only hurt him.” or instead of saying “No standing in the tub.”, say, “ We sit down in the tub because it is slippery.”. This way, you are telling your toddler how you want him to behave rather than dictating his every action.

Mistake # 4:  Modelling Behaviour You Do Not Want To See

When someone ignores you, you get mad. If you cannot get the washing machine to work, you yell. But, you get mad if your toddler reacts the same way when things do not go his way. Remember that toddlers mimic their parents. So the next time your child throws a tantrum, do not say “Shut up!”. Instead, get on his level, calmly tell him to stop and talk to him why throwing a tantrum is not good.

Mistake # 5: Praising Too Little

Affirmation is an influential approach for building self-worth. Give praise for a positive behaviour. When your little one helps out in setting the table, say “Honey, thank you for helping me prepare dinner. I am proud of you.” Knowing you appreciate his effort will motivate him to repeat the behaviour.

There is no manual for raising children. But, keeping these tips in mind can help you make your job easier.

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Getting Your Toddler To Stop Whining

Having a whiny toddler can be a nightmare. Thus, immediate action must be taken to correct this misbehaviour as early as possible. Follow these tips to help your toddler stop whining.

Stay Patient

It may be difficult to keep your composure when your toddler is whining unceasingly. But, if you react with anger or annoyance, you are only increasing your toddler’s bad behaviour. Count to ten, take a few deep breaths to relax yourself before you start talking to your toddler.

Identify The Triggers

What triggers whining? Generally, children whine when they are bored, weary or hungry. Give him plenty of activities that will keep him busy during the day. If your little one complains because he is tired, let him have a mid-morning nap and an afternoon nap. Offer light snacks a few hours before dinnertime. Knowing what sets off the behaviour will help you quickly soothe your toddler before his whining goes into overdrive.

Teach Your Toddler How To Ask

Too often, toddlers complain because they are still incapable of using the right words to express themselves. Teach your child how to ask courteously before he starts whining or teach him a hand signal or a secret word he can show or say to you each time he needs something. This will make him realize that there is a different way to ask aside from whining.

Be A Copycat

One effective technique to stop a toddler from whining is by imitating the action. Show your toddler what he looks like, what he sounds like each time he complains. Most likely, your toddler will find it strange and may tell you to stop. This will help him realize that his behaviour is not acceptable and will make him think twice about doing it again.

Talk To Your Toddler

Sometimes, toddlers have no idea they are whining. To make them aware of their misbehaviour, they need to be informed. Express your feelings. Talk to your toddler in a calm yet firm voice that you know he is hungry, but he should not whine. Tell your toddler that if he is hungry, all he has to do is to tell you and you will give him something to eat.

Ignore The Whining

When your toddler starts to whine, do your best not to acknowledge it no matter how irritating it may get. Tell your toddler you cannot hear him and that you will only listen to him if he quits whining and when he can speak to you in a polite manner. Once he realizes you are not affected by his whining, he will eventually stop.

Give Praise

Every time your toddler asks for something nicely, express your gratitude. Praise him for a job well done. Give him a slice of his favorite chocolate cake or allow him to drink soda during dinner. This is a good way to reinforce the positive behaviour. The more he knows you are pleased with him, the more motivated he will be to continue the behaviour. Remember, children like knowing that they have done well.

Stopping your toddler from whining does not just happen in a flash. It is a process, one that needs your continuous guidance, support and determination.

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How To Discipline A Toddler By Saying No

Saying the word “no” can be very difficult when disciplining children. Children hate hearing it, parents hate saying it, but, it is necessary. Here are some effective ways on how to discipline a toddler by saying no.

Set Limits

First and foremost, you have to set clear, firm limits. Limits are imperative for children because they teach them what to expect about reality and how to be responsible and considerate. Setting limits will help children stay out of trouble and know their boundaries so they can become better balanced as they grow up. Talk to your child about his limits and consequences to make him aware. This will help avert outbursts each time you say no.

Give Options

Toddlers are at a stage in their lives when they want to exercise their freedom. Instead of saying no completely, give your toddler a choice. For instance, if your little one is playing with water in your kitchen, try saying “You can play with water in the bathroom or in the garden instead.”. By giving him choices, you are able to find a suitable diversion and help your toddler feel like he has some control over the situation, erasing the feeling that he is being controlled.

Use Alternatives

The word “no” has some mysterious effect on children that when they hear it, they immediately start crying and shouting. Experts strongly suggest parents to use the word “no” scarcely (for dangerous situations). Using alternatives to tell your toddler “no” is a more effective approach and will less likely cause drama.

For instance, if your little one wants to eat chocolates before dinnertime, instead of saying “No, you cannot have chocolates.”, say “Yes, but after you have finished eating dinner.”. If he wants a new toy that is quite expensive, say “Let me think about it.” or “Yes, but you have to pay for it.”. This will motivate him to earn the money for it (e.g. paying him to do household chores). Or, if your toddler wants to play video games, say “Not today honey.” or “If you finish your homework first, you can play video games.”.

Distract Your Toddler

Toddlers get easily distracted. For example, if your toddler wants to play with a glass, give him a rattle instead. Or if he wants a robot that is way over your budget, show him a cheaper robot and tell him how strong that robot is. Once his attention is diverted, move away from the temptation.

Mean It

Never explain why you have to say no to your toddler. This will only confuse him or give him a chance to persuade you or throw a tantrum. When you say “no”, be firm about it – give him “the look” (make eye contact) and say “no” in an authoritative voice. End of story.

Say Yes

It is okay to say yes every now and then. This way, you are able to strike a balance between yes and no which is very essential in teaching your toddler that the real world is full of yeses and nos.

Do not just say “no” automatically, let your toddler reason out. If you agree with your toddler, then, say “yes.”. If you say “no”, he will not feel so bad because he knows you listened to him.

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Why You Should Not Spank Your Child

Raising children is never easy. It is probably the most difficult job anyone can have. Children will always push their parents’ buttons to test their limits and to see how much they can get away with. Thus, a discipline style must be implemented. Some parents prefer to spank their children. However, this form of punishment is never successful. Here are some reasons why you should not spank your child.

Encourages Violence

Hitting models hitting. Notice how toddlers copy every little gesture their parents make? Children love imitating their parents and they will naturally presume that hitting is an acceptable behaviour. As a result, they will become aggressive with their peers and use hitting as their only way to deal with conflict (e.g. whenever they do  not get what they want). Once they have grown accustomed to it, changing it is next to impossible.

Decreases Your Toddler’s Self-esteem

You are in the living room vacuuming the carpet, your toddler comes running in the room with a glass of milk in his hand and he accidentally trips and spills milk on the carpet. Because you are so mad, you slap him. Think spanking is okay? Think again. Spanking is distressing, it will make your toddler feel guilty, unloved, or worse, make him believe that he is such a disappointment which can negatively cause a major blow in his self-confidence. Because he is too scared to commit mistakes, he can grow into an individual who does not have the guts to stand up for himself for fear of being wrong which leads to more problems.

Strains Parent-Child Relationship

Every time you hit your child, it creates a gap between you and your toddler. It will teach your toddler to fight you and loathe you. As a result, he will distance himself from you and seek support and affection from his friends or from other people because your child feels he cannot trust you. There is also a big possibility that he will seek revenge or rebel during his adolescence, especially if he is with bad company.

Ineffective Method of Discipline

Using spanking as a mode of discipline becomes ineffective overtime. For instance, if you spank your toddler every so often, he will become immune to it. Since all he will see is your rage, the element of fear is no longer present and this will not make him think twice of his actions and make the behaviour worse because he already knows what to anticipate.

Devalues You

No parent ever felt happy after hitting their child. Spanking your toddler will only make you feel embarrassed, desperate and doubt your capability of being a good parent especially when spanking did not work.

Deciding on whether to spank or not to spank your toddler is entirely up to you and your partner. But, one thing is for sure – spanking does not work, it humiliates your child and will cause a lot of hostility from your toddler. Talk to your toddler and let him know how you feel. Use gentle yet firm words to get your message across, not your hands, a belt nor a stick.

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Bullying In Children – What To Do If Your Toddler Is A Bully

Bullying in children is very common. Sure, kids are just being kids. But, what happens if your toddler is the perpetrator? What can you do to help your toddler get back on the right track?

Talk It Out

The first thing you should do is to acknowledge the problem. If you ignore the misbehaviour, your child will think bullying is okay. Talk to your toddler in a non-threatening manner. Tell him you are aware of the bullying. Ask him why he is doing it. Maybe he is afraid, sad, unsure of himself or wants power and bullying is his defense mechanism. Inform him that you are not going to tolerate the behaviour and that he has to be corrected.


When communicating with your toddler, make sure you really listen to what he has to say. Doing this assures your little one that he can tell you anything without being judged, allowing a two-way conversation to transpire. An open line of communication is the best way to handle this kind of situation.

Ask Questions

If in case your toddler does not handle straight talks well, try asking him questions. Why is he doing it? Does he have friends that bully other children? Is there something he does not like in the other child? Then, let him see his actions in a different way. Put him in someone else’s shoes by asking, “How would you feel if you were the one being bullied?”. This will get him thinking of his actions.


Set limits with your toddler. Explain to him that until he learns to respect others, he will have to stay in his room for 15 minutes every day and that television, video games and his favorite sweets will not be a part of his life. Make sure you are consistent in your efforts to help your toddler fully understand the concept of consequences.

Teach Positive Behaviours

Teach your toddler how to be kind and sympathetic to others. Maybe he does not understand how his behaviour is affecting the bullied child. Give your toddler a pet so he can take care of it. Read books or watch videos together about children who bully. Enroll him in a class that can nurture his talent while encouraging camaraderie and teamwork. Hold a play date for a few hours in your home. This way, you can observe how he is around his peers and correct any misbehaviour at once.

Do Not Belittle

Never turn the tables and mock, insult or ridicule your toddler just to show him what a bullied child feels like. This will only boost the behaviour because he is also being bullied at home.

Reduce Violence At Home

Avoid exposing your toddler to violence. Monitor the TV shows your little one is watching. Pick age-appropriate computer and video games. Make sure you guide him if he does watch or play violent shows and games. Also, take a look at your behaviour. Do you react aggressively when angry? If you do, then lecturing your toddler on bullying will be useless if he sees you or other family members display destructive behaviours.

Stopping your toddler from bullying is a process. But if you give time, patience, lots of effort and attention on your child as well as the environment he is growing up in, you can help your toddler turn things around.

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Disciplining Children Who Talk Back

One of the biggest discipline issues parents have to face is back talk. While it is a normal part of child development, tolerating this kind of behaviour can result to major behaviour problems as children grow up. Here are some tips on how to deal with children who talk back.

Keep Your Calm

How you react to your toddler’s retorts can set the tone of your communication. Do not get into a power struggle or overreact to your toddler’s choice of words. Remember, children like pushing their parents’ buttons. So when your little one starts mouthing off, stay calm and do not respond in kind. Instead of saying “Do not use that tone to me you little brat.”, say, “I do not like the way you talk to me. I think there is a better way to say that.”.

Know The Reason Behind The Behaviour

You have to know precisely why your toddler is talking back to you. Is he irritable during lunchtime, in the middle of the afternoon or after playing physically demanding activities? This may be because he is hungry, sleepy or overstimulated. Maybe giving him a light snack before lunchtime, adjusting his naptime or taking some downtime after playtime can eliminate these triggers. Keep track of when back talks happen to prevent the behaviour from worsening.

Another reason why children talk back is because they lack attention. They will do anything to get an adults attention, even if it is negative. So the next time your toddler talks to you about something, do not just say “hmm…”. Stop whatever you are doing and listen to your little one. This way, you assure him that even if you are busy, you do not forget him. Moreover, take a look at what your toddler sees. Is he watching TV shows and commercials displaying a sassy attitude? It would be a good idea to supervise your toddler and screen TV programs.

Set Firm Rules

Make sure your toddler understands what is and is not okay to say. Be sure to stress the message that you will not listen to what he has to say unless he talks to you in a calm and respectful manner.

Give Consequences

If your toddler starts to talk back, give him a warning. You can say, “Honey, if you continue to disrespect me I will have to punish you.”. If he does not stop, grab your toddler’s hand and lead him to his timeout place. Have him sit down in an isolated room (make sure you still keep a close eye on him) for the entire period of the timeout. Withholding privileges (e.g. missing his favorite TV show, no video games and playing on the playground) is another consequence you can give.


Talk to your toddler about his behaviour. Let him know that you care about his feelings but you also feel hurt each time he talks back. Acknowledge his emotions – “I understand you are frustrated.” (to show that you empathize with him ) and do not interrupt him while he is talking. This will teach him that you respect his opinion and that he can always talk to you about anything.

Practice What You Preach

Of course, in order to successfully adjust your toddler’s attitude, you have to adjust your attitude as well. If he sees you handle your own emotions in a calm and mature manner, he will follow you.

Give Praise

Each time he speaks to you in a polite tone, tell him how you like it when he talks to you that way. This way, you let your toddler realize that it is not just the negative behaviour you notice, but the positive as well.

Be firm and do not let yourself be affected each time he makes nasty comebacks. The calmer you are, the better you can teach your toddler to express himself in an acceptable way.

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Ways To Avoid Spoiling A Child

Honestly speaking, spoiling a child is easier than keeping him grounded. This is because most parents confuse love with happiness. However, a spoiled child will grow disobedient, insensitive and manipulative. Here are some ways to avoid raising a spoiled child.

Set Clear Limits

Set rules and be clear about it. For instance, if your toddler is only allowed to eat one scoop of ice cream, instead of saying “Okay, you can eat ice cream.” which makes your toddler think that he can ask for a second one, say “You can only have one scoop of ice cream.”.

Be Firm

When you set limits, make sure you adhere to it. When your toddler makes pleas so you will buy him a toy even if you just bought him one last week, do not comply. Do not feel obligated, guilty or think of yourself as a bad parent when your toddler cries or insists on something. Your toddler is only testing you to see if you will give in, and once you do, those limits will be useless. Being consistent with your rules makes your toddler realize that he will not always get everything he wants which will make him obey you.

Do Not Be Afraid To Disappoint

Yes, seeing your toddler cry is heartbreaking. But when it is for his own good, denial is perfectly okay. Giving your toddler whatever he wants is not a way of showing how much you love him. Doing this can be dangerous as this will only make him push his desires to the extent of violating your rules and discipline policies. Refusing to buy him a new toy will make him dislike you, but will that last for a day? No. Let him cry and scream. His frustration will be gone in no time.

Set Up A Reward System

Children who are handed things easily tend to take things for granted. Create a reward system for good behaviour and let him earn something little by little. For instance, if he wants a bike, tell him that you will only buy him one if he clears the dining table for a month. Or if he wants to watch TV, he has to put away his toys or finish his food first. This will make him understand that if he wants something or he wants to have fun, he has to work hard first.

Give Your Toddler Freedom

Freedom to handle his own struggles that is. Let your toddler make his own choices, weigh the pros and cons and work through manageable problems without helping him. Do not do for him what he can do for himself. If in case he makes a bad choice, do not reprimand him. Let him stew until he regains his composure and then talk to him. Help him process his feelings. It is okay to allow your toddler to be annoyed sometimes. This teaches your toddler to think on his own and to own up to his problems and come up with solutions to resolve them.

Focus On The Positive

Every time your toddler is doing good, commend him. Praising him each time he says please and thank you or for not crying because he cannot eat chips reinforces good behaviour which will make him more motivated to behave properly.

Raising a well-mannered child starts at home. With your love, support and firm discipline methods, your toddler will grow into an adult who is prepared for the real world.

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