Discipline of a preschooler requires a combination of art and science. It also requires great agility. What worked last week may not be effective anymore.
Patience and consistency can be key in addressing your three-year-old’s behavior problems. four or five years . At the same time, you may need to use trial and error to see which discipline strategies work best for your family.
The typical behavior of a preschooler
Early development of a preschooler means that your child will want to be independent. This search for autonomy can present new challenges for parents in terms of behavior and disciplinary needs. And your child may enjoy experimenting with new behaviors just to see how they respond.
Switching to preschool can cause your child separation anxiety. Or they are afraid to interact with other children and teachers.
Children of this age may also experience overstepping boundaries and may face challenges. They may be frustrated that they cannot do what they want to do because their motor skills are not yet as refined. These frustrations and anxieties can often lead to behavioral problems, such as defiance, talk later , we’re wasting time , and much more.
Preschoolers have a basic understanding of right and wrong. They can follow simple rules and often aspire to please adults. However, they do not understand the logic of adults, so sometimes it is difficult for them to make healthy decisions.
Although it should develop a better one Pulse control , your child will still need a lot of work in this area. They can scream, say bad things or have explosions. They often test rules and boundaries, but they should begin to better understand the direct consequences of their behavior.
Lying is a common challenge for preschoolers. Sometimes their stories are an attempt to get out of trouble, and other times they simply use their imagination to tell improbable stories.
Crying is another common problem in preschool. Preschoolers often believe that if you say no the first time, begging and whining will force you to change your mind. But keep in mind that if they manage to tease and subdue you once, they will be convinced that they can do it again.
In many homes, children’s language tops the list for disturbing preschool behaviors. But talking again as a child can be a normal part of preschool development. Sometimes preschoolers use it to attract attention. At other times, they regress due to stress or anxiety. For example, a child may start talking like a child just before entering kindergarten because he is nervous about the transition.
Although preschoolers often want to help, they also like to assert their independence. It is common for them to say «No!» when you tell them to do something just to see how you react.
Most preschoolers have gained little control over it tantrums, but they have not yet achieved sufficient impulse control to prevent occasional aggressive behavior. Hitting, kicking and biting can still be a problem.
Discipline strategies that work
Effective discipline should include negative consequences that prevent the recurrence of inappropriate behavior and positive consequences that motivate the child to continue to do a good job. While your plan should be tailored to your child’s temperament, the following discipline strategies are often most effective for preschoolers.
Praise good behavior
Give lots of praise and encouragement to promote good behavior. Make sure your compliment is genuine. Instead of saying, «You’re the best kid in the world,» he says, «Thank you for putting the plate in the sink when I asked.»
Place the child in a quiet or resting corner
Use a waiting time automatic for major violations of the rules, such as aggression, or for those times when your child does not listen to an instruction. You might say, «It’s okay to be disappointed, but it’s not okay to hit. It’s time to go to the quiet corner and practice our breathing on our stomachs.»
If your preschooler refuses to go out on time or the crime doesn’t deserve a few minutes of action, try to eliminate a behavioral privilege. Communicate with your child: «Since you threw the toy on your friend, the toy has been interrupted for ten minutes.»
Create a reward system
If your child is struggling with a specific behavior, such as staying in bed all night, create a table with stickers . Then tell them that once they win a certain number of stickers (such as three or five), they can get a bigger reward, such as choosing a special movie to watch. Reward systems can be phased out after your child has learned the skills he or she needs to achieve his or her goals.
Keep in mind that it is important to determine the reason behind the behavior. Why does your child have trouble staying in bed at night? Discuss this calmly and directly, with a lot of empathy. Once you determine the reason for the behavior, you can solve the problem together.
Preventing future problems
When it comes to disciplining a preschooler, prevention may be the best strategy. Stay one step ahead considering situations that may be difficult for your child.
Most preschoolers find it difficult to control their behavior when they are hungry, tired, or overwhelmed. So pack your snacks, get plenty of rest and plan outings for when your baby will be the best. Establish a daily routine so that your child knows what is expected of him during the day. Preschoolers do best when they are a lot of structure . .
Also, create clear rules and boundaries. Explain your expectations before entering new situations (such as how to behave in the library) and warn your child about the consequences of breaking the rules.
Many of the behavioral problems that preschoolers have are the result of their struggles to control their emotions, especially anger. Teach your preschool simple anger management skills. For example, he blows bubbles with the child as a way to teach him to breathe deeply and relaxing and teaches him to use «bubble breaths» when he is upset.
Establish internal rules about aggressive behavior. Teach your child that it is good to feel angry, but it is not good to hurt someone or destroy property.
Although your preschooler has a better understanding of language skills, it is important that your communication is short and effective. Skip long conferences and establish good communication habits with your child now. Here are some effective ways to communicate with your preschooler:
- Be short and sweet . There is no need for a long discussion about why a behavior is unacceptable. With young children, it is best to keep things simple and specific.
- Establish healthy communication practices . Create strategies that will help you and your child talk about behavior problems and solutions. For example, you can have a special place in the house where you and your child discuss important topics. You could also establish as an internal rule that conflicts and problems are discussed after a period of calm, when solutions can best be approached in a calm way.
- Offer limited options. Offer unlimited options, such as «What would you like for dinner?» It can lead to conflict when a child does not have the skills to make good decisions. Offer two good options to choose from, such as «Would you rather clean your room before or after dinner?» Either option is a good answer as long as it is done.
- Talk about alternatives . When your child misbehaves, teach them alternative ways to meet their needs. If they throw a toy when they are upset, talk about other strategies that could have helped them deal with those feelings. Instead of just punishing your child for wrong behavior, help him make better decisions in the future. Ask questions like, «If the baby grabs his toy, what can he do instead of pushing it?»
Give effective instructions . . Give good instructions increase the chances of your child listening. Put a hand on your child’s shoulder or make eye contact before attempting to give instructions. After giving the instructions (step by step), ask your child to repeat what you said to make sure they understand.