BlogParenting ResourcesHow to Discipline a Child With Best Actionable Strategies

    How to Discipline a Child With Best Actionable Strategies

    When looking for the best ways on how to discipline a child, it is important to consider various parameters. The child’s age, level of interest, cognitive development, and sense of right and wrong will dictate how they interact with positive and negative disciplinary stimuli.

    As a parent, you need to use every tool available to empower your kids to make the right decisions. You can help them navigate the world better through the right strategies rather than enforcing negative punishment and detrimental ways on how to discipline a child.

    How Do I Begin to Discipline My Child?

    Parent disciplining their child

    There are several parenting styles that you can use to discipline your child the right way. When looking for techniques on how to discipline a child, it is important to understand that different approaches work differently for other kids. Babies instinctively don’t understand right from wrong and require a more loving and nuanced approach.

    Toddlers can be taught discipline through positive reinforcement and direct conversation. By highlighting negative actions, you can make toddlers understand the value of behaving positively. In the case of preschoolers, you’ll need a mix of books, flashcards, toys, and other props to teach them about being disciplined in more complex situations. Positive punishments are also a good means of teaching good manners to kids.

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    When looking at how to discipline a child, there is no single best way that can be used every time. Your child can respond to different instructions and actions for different types of themes. You can also have one on one conversations with them, talking about the consequences of their actions and provide support when they need clarification.

    10 Healthy and Actionable Discipline Strategies for Your Child

    Parent comforting her child

    There are 10 vital strategies that parents can use when looking for the best ways on how to discipline a child. You can use these strategies across age groups and provide the right type of positive reinforcement loop that can help your child strengthen good habits.

    1. Focus on active listening

    A great way to set the right expectations of discipline is to have an active listening mindset. If you focus on listening to what your child is saying in moments of tantrums and outbursts, they may be less likely to use these strategies to get your attention. Through active listening, you can encourage them to use their words clearly.

    Active listening is one of the more counterintuitive discipline techniques that shifts the dynamic of a parent-child relationship. The best way to discipline a child or one of the best discipline strategies is to establish that one-on-one connection with them through talking.

    2. Establishing boundaries

    Having the right sets of boundaries within the parent-child dynamic should also help in strengthening discipline. Your child should know what they can and can’t do within a clearly outlined set of boundaries. By ensuring that you’re rigid about your boundaries, your kids will remain within them.

    Consistency is the key to enabling these boundaries to exist within the dynamic as well. By being flexible in certain areas or allowing your children to get free rein in certain areas, you can confuse them about what they can’t do.

    3. Use action cards

    When looking for ways on how to discipline a 4 year old child or younger, it is important to use flashcards for good behaviors. Kids can understand what actions can get them in trouble and which ones they will be rewarded for. Action or flash cards can help them visually understand right from wrong for a more intuitive approach.

    Action cards can also help your kids understand why it is important to be good and to show good behavior. They often reflect stories from other kids’ lives, which they can relate to and imagine themselves in. This makes the idea of discipline a more nuanced and engaging one for younger kids.

    4. Allow for discourse

    One of the main drawbacks of authoritarianism is the lack of feedback and communication within that approach. You need to have an open dialog of communication with your child, enabling a more open environment of collaborative understanding.

    You can have regular open discussions with your kids talking about why their actions weren’t polite or were outwardly rude. You can also ask them why they felt like they needed to act out instead of just talking about what they were experiencing.

    5. Praise good behavior

    When it comes to establishing rules and guidelines, it is important to reward good behaviors. You need to actively notice and appreciate positive attitudes, behaviors, and acts of kindness in your children. By pointing out their good actions and appreciating them, you can set up a positive loop of good behaviors.

    You should also focus on empowering your kids to do more when they have the opportunity. You can encourage them to help their siblings with their homework, help a fallen child, and help set the table. These can help them integrate better without requiring negative reinforcement for the right disciplinary measures.

    6. Active assessments

    Among different types of assessments, active assessments can also help your kids understand the importance of self-reflection. You can encourage your kids to reflect on their behavior and understand why they acted out. This is a classic strategy when it comes to understanding how to discipline a child in a positive way.

    You can also provide the right support to your child when it comes to assessing their own actions. You can empower them to think twice before performing a negative action, giving them the right set of tools to delve deeper into their way of divergent thinking in kids

    7. Burn off excess energy

    You may find that your kids are more behaved and calmer when they’ve been out the whole day running around at the playground. Outdoor games for kids can help to burn off the excess energy, they can actively listen to and understand what you’re trying to teach them regarding good behaviors.

    You can focus on scheduled play time outside, giving them ample time to run around and get tired. Instead of looking for direct punishments for kids, you could turn the situation around if all your kids wanted was to go outside and burn off energy.

    8. Help them understand the importance of consequences

    Another important tool in the parenting guidebook is to teach kids about the importance of consequences. You want to approach this topic from the mindset of the impact of a child’s actions, rather than punishing bad behavior. If your child pushes another child down or misbehaves with a puppy, you should immediately talk about how the other person feels.

    Talking about consequences will also help them recognize the value of empathy at a younger age. When looking for ways on how to discipline a toddler, this is one of the best strategies to help them understand right from wrong.

    9. Give them the right tools

    Teaching your kids about understanding their own emotions and helping them deal with each emotion can be a helpful strategy in establishing discipline. You can help them navigate the world of emotions with the right books, novels, stories, and poems for kids.

    You can also give them the right strategies to communicate their emotions rather than giving into their impulses. You can set the right rules around fighting, fussing, throwing tantrums, and pushing, so that your kids are able to use their words directly.

    10. Emphasize healthy habits

    One of the best methods of discipline for kids is to have them participate in healthy habits. You can teach your children to make their beds, eat their vegetables, and do small chores around the house. This can help them establish healthy habits over time, giving them the right foundation to be more disciplined.

    It’s important to have them buy into the idea of healthy habits rather than forcing them to become more disciplined. You can encourage them to start small, and focus on making their beds, putting their toys away, and cleaning their rooms.

    Related Reading: Best Classroom Rules for Students

    Why Learning From Your Own Mistakes Works for Parents

    Child not listening to parent

    An interesting way to approach the process of disciplining a child is to learn from your own mistakes constantly. You can get a sense of what your child responds to best and evolve your strategy using different tools. As your child ages, you can use books, videos, guides, and deeper conversations to instill discipline.

    There are also several types of discipline techniques that you can use depending on the age of your child. You can use distractions, positive dissuading, negative consequences, and long-form conversations to get the point across. When looking for how to discipline a child in public, you need to be mindful of quickly pointing out determinantal behavior and fixing it.

    Related Reading: Compassionate Vs. Empathetic – Why Both Are Important for Kids

    The Best Practical Discipline Tips for Kids of All Ages

    Parent talking to child about their behavior

    Let’s look at different ways you can discipline your child using practical and easy to implement tips. You can understand the psychological makeup of your child by using these tips and formulate your own based on what works best. You can also constantly evolve your approach, looking at what works for your unique child.

    Disciplining an infant child

    The idea of disciplining an infant may feel counterintuitive because they may not have the right cognitive development to understand the concept of discipline. However, you can use a handful of tricks to get them to do the right thing and communicate through other means.

    The most important thing to remember is that you can’t say the words “yes”, “no” and “don’t” to infants because they can’t differentiate between different instructions. You can use redirection as a method to get them to do something else.

    You can also remain consistent with your instructions, making it easier for your infant to make sense of their environment. It’s also critical to never lash out or yell at them because this will add unnecessary stress for your infant when they make different decisions.

    Discipling your little toddler

    When your child’s a toddler, it’s time to start rewarding positive behavior and punishing negative ones. You can point out examples of good behavior, such as helping a friend or sharing a compliment, to reinforce good habits. Positive discipline for toddlers can also be introduced in a step-by-step way.

    You need to also be mindful about what areas your child needs to be quickly disciplined in. If they are displaying signs of aggression and frustration, such as kicking, screaming, and hair pulling, you need to stop them immediately.

    How to discipline preschool kids

    This is the perfect age to teach your kids about the power of choices. Instead of setting hard rules for your preschool child or looking for ways on how to punish your child, you can shift the focus towards actions and consequences.

    When looking for how to discipline a 3 year old or younger, you need to get the right discipline technique that makes sense to them. You can also set the right examples of positive discipline by creating positive memories around doing chores, following instructions, and behaving disciplined.

    Kids in grade school? Here’s how you can discipline them

    Some of the best ways on how to discipline a child that’s in grade school is to provide them consistent guidelines to follow. This is the perfect age to teach your kids about being a responsible student, sibling, child, and community member.

    This is especially true when parents are searching for how to discipline a 5 year old child or older as they are just starting to learn about their surroundings. When looking for the best ways to discipline a child in grade school, you should also emphasize on virtues such as patience, kindness, and empathy.

    Understanding discipline for adolescents & teens

    For older kids, you should focus on setting the right rules, routines, and schedules. You should also provide the right framework for building healthy habits. It’s important to get the right sense of where your child is within the larger behavioral model and to guide them correctly.

    When it comes to how to discipline a child that’s in their teens, you need to encourage them to make the right decisions in difficult situations. You should also focus on providing them additional kindness, affection, and praise, as this is a particularly tough time in their lives.

    Related Reading: Empathy vs Sympathy: How to Raise an Empathetic Child

    Taking The Right Steps Towards Improving Your Child’s Behavior

    Mother using playtime to discuss behavior

    You should take a three-step approach when it comes to improving your kid’s behavior.

    Current evaluation

    You should focus on an evaluation of where your child is. This includes a behavioral analysis and a recording of what triggers them. You can then chart out why your child acts out in certain situations and doesn’t in others.

    Anticipation of outbursts

    You can also focus on anticipating certain behaviors as well. This includes being prepared when going out to the mall, the playground, or dropping your kids off at school. You can anticipate outbursts and prepare yourself to provide the right support.

    Actively counseling

    Finally, you should focus on active counseling. Through the right counseling methods, you can establish a more open line of communication that helps your child deal with daily stressors in a better way. You can also encourage the right habits through active counseling.

    Related Reading: Best & Important Character Traits for Kids That All Parents Must Instill


    Child being disciplined and doing their homework

    You can start implementing these tips in your parenting life and enrich your children’s lives. You can give them the right sets of tools to help them make more informed decisions during stressful situations. You can empower kids of all ages through multifaceted strategies, enabling them to be the best versions of themselves. Get started with these strategic and practical tips today!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    How do you discipline a child that won’t listen?

    The best way to approach this is to establish a rapport with your children. You can get them to trust your judgment in different situations by building a bridge of open communication with them.

    Should I punish my child in public?

    It is not recommended to reprimand or yell at a child in public if the situation escalates as a result of doing so.

    What is the relationship between self-respect and punishment?

    Kids that understand the value of positive discipline tend to have greater self-respect, when compared to kids who are punished through negative outcomes.

    How do you punish a child without yelling or hitting?

    You should have a strategic plan in place for establishing discipline within your kids. By having a collaborative mindset in shifting the way your child thinks, you won’t need to resort to yelling and hitting.

    Ursula Cruz
    Ursula Cruz writes on the subject of integration of technology in classrooms and the intersection of education and child development. In her free time, she likes going on hikes with her dog, Lucy.

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