An effective discipline plan makes a happy home.
Little Bobby has just hit his older sister for the fourth time in a week. Not only that, when it's time to eat his yummy peas, he throws a temper tantrum of epic proportions. What's a parent to do? Well, the best way to manage your little darling's behavior is to have a well-developed, effective discipline plan to address behavior gone awry. According to an article on Positive Discipline.org, “Research Supporting Positive Discipline in Homes, Schools, and on Communities,” parents who practice supportive, yet firm, discipline raise children who are successful in school and have good long-term social habits. An effective discipline plan includes consistency, praise and a fun way to evaluate a child's progress like a creative “behavior” report card.
1Get creative by visiting craft and teacher supply stores for materials, as an effective discipline plan is creative and rewards good behavior. Purchase colorful cardboard paper, markers, color pencils and reward stickers. Write the rules down on the cardboard with markers or colored pencils. Make sure to limit the number of rules in the discipline plan. Try to have no more than 10 rules; too many rules might confuse or overwhelm a young preschooler. Display the discipline prominently in the front room of the house or the child's bedroom.
2Be consistent with the plan. The mom of a preschooler not only has to be quick on her toes, but also consistent with discipline. For example, a parent may have a house rule against eating sweets during the school week. What if, one day, the child comes home from school with a treat? It can be very difficult to turn down a sweet cherub's face, but if a rule a is an important part of your discipline plan, then stay consistent and firm. Gently and firmly remind the child and say, “Remember sweetie, snacks like these are only for the weekend. On Saturday, this can be your special afternoon snack.” This way, a child will understand that the house rules don't change just because a new situation arises such as an irresistible piece of candy or cake!
3Reinforce a discipline plan with praise. Praise good behavior and compliment the child when she does something pleasing. For example, if she doesn't have to be prompted to complete a household chore, compliment her by saying, “Sweetie, thanks for remembering to wash the dishes” or “I really liked the way you cleaned your room without being asked.” Ignore negative attention-getting behavior such as temper tantrums. Offer praise and focus on what the child does right; praise motivates and reduces poor behavior like defiance.
4Evaluate the effectiveness of a discipline plan by creating a behavior report card. The behavior card should be the size of a regular school report card and can be done weekly or monthly. For each rule your child masters, use a reward sticker, smiley face or star to indicate a job well done. If the child needs improvement on a particular behavior rule, just write a check and encourage the child to continue to do her best. As the child grows older, the rules might change, but at least she'll understand the importance of good behavior, respect, boundaries and self-control.
Things You'll Need
- Cardboard paper
- Markers or colored pencils
- Reward stickers