17 answers

Whats the Most Effective Form of Discipline for Ages 3 and 4?

I have no idea how to discipline my kids when they do something bad. Well, I don't know how to do it so that they learn? ANY ideas?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I put my kids in time out for a minute per age...
I watch Super Nanny on channel 5 on wednesdays.
i get a lot of ideas from that show, get tips on parenting!

Consistancy is the key...whichever method you choose, stick to it! Parenting is a tough job, but well worth the effort. They will come around eventually. Good luck!

More Answers

"Toy time out" Put the toy that they are not playing with correctly and choose something else for them to play with.

"Time In" When your child is misbehaving over and over keep them closer to help them to be successful.

"Redirection" When they are not being appropriate give them a directive as to what you ant them to do. Not what you want them to stop doing (example intead of stop running say "walk" in a firm voice)

"Practice sessions" When you have a repeat offender you help your child practice, about 3-4 times what you want them to do. (example: help them to pick up some of their their toys, put them on the floor and then do it again until they get it.)

When it's not disciplin time, be Silly and have fun with them to make it easier for them to tollerate such a firm in charge parent. Think about it we dont like our bosses when they are all buisness all the time.

1 mom found this helpful

Try 1-2-3 Magic Parenting Book by Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D. This is the method of discipline in which you calmly give "time outs" instead of yelling and fighting with your child. One main idea is that you can't discipline your child if you get angry and out of control yourself. It's not easy and it doesn't work over night, but it works. I have a 6 y.o. and a 9 y.o and we have been using this method for four years.
Also, watch the Super Nanny show on ABC. She suggests younger kids kids sit in a "naughty spot" if they misbehave. My sister uses this method with her three very active boys ages 20 months, 4 y.o. and 6 y.o.


Go to your public library and check out either the book or DVD of 1, 2, 3 Magic, it is great. Is a non-confrontational, non-yelling, non-arguing way to discipline your children. I have seen children totally turn around with this method. i got the book first and myself putting off reading it, but I got the DVD and watched, it is so far working with my 4 year old girl. Good luck!

I believe in positive reinforcement. That is what I use in my classroom and it works. Following through with what you say is important. I believe in giving the children choices if possible. However there are times when choices are not possible. If you ask the child to do or stop doing something several times and they continue, I believe in one last warning. For example: If you hit your sister one more time you will sit in time out and if the child hits again you follow through with sitting him/her in time out. Never say you will do something that you can't follow through with. If they know that you will always follow through with what you say there will be less need for them to test you and make the right choices. I hope this helps. : )

My daughter will be four in two weeks, and we found that time out never worked for her. She would only get more worked up, rather than use the time to calm down. Most of our discipline is logical consequences: for example, if you don't brush your teeth when I say to, you won't have time to read stories before bed. If you don't put your coat on, you will be cold. If you don't eat your dinner, you will be hungry later. You have to follow through with the consequences (and be prepared for some nasty looks from other parents who think you're giving your child pneumonia by letting her go without a coat) but for us, this works the best. We also pair it with tons of positive reinforcement and redirection, which work really well with our little girl.

Good luck to you! I think that like most of parenting, discipline is all about your "bag of tricks". The more tricks you have in your bag, the easier parenting is!

Hi C.,

I'm still learning too. Friends of mine taught me, recently, an addition to the old "time out" form of discipline. Rather than having a chair in a corner for them to sit at, facing the wall, have no chair. Have them stand facing the wall, and have them place their hands against the wall. Pick a corner somewhere that is not visible to any fun, but close enough to the fun, that they can hear the fun, and want to get back. Set an alarm for a few minutes (time in minutes to their age, up to 5,as another mom suggested, is good). Let them know that they are to stay there until they hear the alarm. Check on them, to make sure the hands stay on the wall. My daughter has a tendency to pick at her scabs and fingers, for fun, so this really helps me so that she isn't encouraged to do ANYTHING while on time out. It may sound very "law enforcement" like, but it helps teach her how to follow instructions, as well as encourages her to stay alert to listen for specific sounds (the alarm). I also give her praise when she waits quietly, until the alarm sounds. It takes practice, but it has worked wonders for us.

1-2-3 Magic works great - and the schools use it too, so double reinforcement is great. However, I see alot of parents that count everything.. and that doesn't work.

We have a rule in my home "If you can't play with it right - you don't play with it at all" and I take the toy in question away for the day if my son was throwing it, banging it or something simular. However, I kept it in sight but out of reach (out of sight, out of mind.. and I wanted to reinforce by visual aid).

I use a lot of "If/Then". If you continue to do this, then I'm going to have to do that. But follow through is key (because if you don't, then you're saying "If you do this, then maybe I might do that". Always be prepared to follow through with what you say.

Above all - positive reinforcment! Instead of focusing on the bad - show your child you are noticing the GOOD they do. All children want their parents attention and if you shower them with TRUE positive reinforcement, it makes them more apt to do the positive. With two children, it's a bit easier, because if one is sitting still, and the other isn't - you can say "Wow - you're doing such a great job of sitting still. I'm proud of you." and your other child may turn around and do it too - and comment when they do :-)

Not saying I don't have problems with my son with disipline - he says I have too many rules.. :-)

I love the LOVE & LOGIC series... really - just fabulous... get the first book - Love and logic for the early years.

I put my kids in time out for a minute per age...
I watch Super Nanny on channel 5 on wednesdays.
i get a lot of ideas from that show, get tips on parenting!

Consistancy is the key...whichever method you choose, stick to it! Parenting is a tough job, but well worth the effort. They will come around eventually. Good luck!

Without a doubt.... 1-2-3 Magic by Dr Thomas Phelan I used it during my 11 years doing daycare as well as with my own children. It works and its easy. Whatever method you decide on in the end, just make sure those in you children's life are on the same page with you so they have consistency. Children thrive on routine. Remember the dicipline means 'to teach' not 'to punish'

123 Magic! You can buy the book or the DVD. It works!

I liked the Happiest Toddler on the Block book. It had suggestions that have worked well for my 3 1/2 year old son. Good luck.

time outs work wonderfully most of the time, make them sit some where quiet away from their toys and people, set a timer for how old they are and see how that goes. I never recommend spanking your children, speak to them and let them know their boundries and be CONSISTENT. If you say you are going to do something, do it and follow through. That is very important.

Good luck.

There is a book titled 1, 2, 3 Magic. It is a great book to get some ideas and also strategies about disciplining. I use it with my 4 year old, but also with my second graders with some modifications. I am sure you can check it out at your local library or buy it at a local bookstore.

HI C.,
I think that the best thing you can remember is follow through. If you say something will happen if such and such behavior happends, make sure you are ready to follow through. Don't threated something if you are not ready to do it.

We use a bahavior chart. I break the day into 5 parts and then they get a smiley on the chart if they have done good during that part of the day. When my guys got older we started trading the smileys for pennies, and then we took the pennies to the store to buy a treat. THis has also taught them how to save their money. THe first time they used it all, then next time they used a little to save for the bigger treat that they really wanted. The last few months we haven't gone to the store because both boys are saving for a toy that they want.

Experiment with what works for you and your parenting style. Everyone, including kids are differnt. SOmetimes it takes trial and error to find what works. Give the strategy you want to try a few weeks and see what happens. But remember to be consistent.

Good luck!

Good luck

Hi C. My Granddaughter who is 4 is a little terror at times so my daughter makes her take time out and puts her on the naughty step explaining why she as done this when she as calmed down she makes her tell her why mummy put her there and to say she is sorry. If she doesn't then she goes back on the step. Your Kids will probably throw tantrums at first so you have to be patient and make them stay till they have calmed down.My daughter only as to mention the naughty step now and Katie knows if she doesn't behave she will go there. She is good as gold for me because she knows just how far she can go.Saying that most kids try it on with there mums. You have them 24/7 where as we can give them back after a few hours. What i do with her is try to get her to play with things and distract her attention from throwing a wobbly
Hope this helps

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